North Central News

North Central experts discuss current events and best practices for students while new buildings and programs make media headlines

Kelly Murphy

Oct 29, 2021

This fall, North Central College opened its doors to a new facility, the Dr. Myron Wentz Center for Health Sciences and Engineering. From news of the Center’s ribbon-cutting to the everyday bustle of the news cycle, North Central College continued to capture the spotlight of media outlets as the year turned to autumn. Here are some highlights of the College in the media in October 2021:

Dr. Myron Wentz Center for Health Sciences and Engineering captures attention of media outlets

North Central College dedicated its new Dr. Myron Wentz Center for Health Sciences and Engineering Thursday, Oct. 7. Simulated hospital and medical rooms, virtual cadavers and high-tech engineering equipment are among the new features in the facility.

Three of the building’s four floors focus on the health care occupations, allowing North Central to introduce or expand its occupational therapy, physician assistant and physical therapy programs. Anatomage tables in the skills lab, for example, look like large touchscreen tablets and create virtual cadavers that allow users to examine bodies in greater detail and do virtual dissections.

The first floor of the new building is for North Central’s engineering program, which started in 2017. The 6,000 square feet includes a large manufacturing processes lab. The lab includes high-precision lasers for cutting metals and non-metals, a 3D printer, two computerized numerical control (CNC) milling machines, a CNC lathe and a 3-ton bridge crane.

These features and more were highlights of several media placements:


North Central occupational therapy program mentioned in Chicago Marathon story on WGN News

Thousands of runners took to the streets of the Chicago on Sunday, Oct. 10 as part of the 43rd annual Chicago Marathon. Among them, was WGN’s general assignment reporter Brónagh Tumulty.

Tumulty decided to run the marathon as a bucket list item, but also to honor her late grandfather Cathal Donoghue, who ran four marathons in Ireland. Her grandfather passed away in 2008 following a stroke and she knew that if she were to ever build up the courage to run a marathon it would be to help other families who’ve had a loved one suffer a stroke. That’s when Tumulty found SSEEO, a non-profit organization building a community to encourage, support and guide stroke survivors and families while also providing resources. SSEEO stands for “Stroke Survivors Empowering Each Other” and they’ve been around for 17 years.

SSEEO has helped countless stroke survivors and their families across the Chicago area. This fall, the organization will kick-off a new program, teaming up with North Central College’s occupational therapy program. Together the initiative will help partner students with survivors who need additional rehabilitation, at no cost to the survivors or their families.

The segment mentioning North Central College's partnership with SSEEO was featured on WGN news:

Gordon’s new appointment to CDO the subject of spotlight feature in Naperville Magazine

Over the summer, North Central College announced that Dr. Rebecca Gordon, assistant vice president for equity, diversity, and inclusion and Title IX/504 coordinator, would become the College’s first-ever chief diversity officer and join the President’s cabinet. Dr. Gordon (pronoun, R) is a member of the Latine and LGBTQIA+ communities and brings to this role lived experience along with a career dedicated to DEI and Title IX work.

Dr. Gordon was a spotlight feature in the Naperville Magazine October issue, where R discussed the new role and its future impact.

“It is humbling. I appreciate the faith and confidence that is being placed in my skills, experience, and talents,” said Dr. Gordon. “I also feel challenged, because I am not naive about the scope of the task I am undertaking to make real transformational change at the college. But at the end of the day, I am a psychologist and educator and believe in the power of information and the ability for people and systems to change. I am hopeful and excited about putting initiatives in place with the partners I have at the college.”

Click here to read the full feature in the Naperville Magazine.

As coffee shops per capita continue to rise, Thalmann and Michel share their coffee expertise in the Naperville Sun

Geneva has been crowned Illinois’ most coffee-obsessed city in a study conducted by Zoma Sleep. Based on their findings, Naperville is No. 13, Elgin No. 18 and Aurora No. 19 based on the ratio of coffee shops to population. The Naperville Sun analyzed the coffee shop per capita study and interviewed two coffee experts at North Central College as a result.

Jerry Thalmann, associated professor of accounting, suggests coffeehouses have grown in popularity because they’ve become the place people choose to meet family or friends that is not home or work.

“You don’t have to eat, you don’t have to spend a lot of time there, and you can also mingle easier,” said Thalmann, who also is an adviser with the social entrepreneur group Enactus, which has been sourcing coffee beans directly from small plot family farmers in Guatemala since 2005. One of his classes gives an overview of the coffee industry from seed to cup.

What determines a perfect cup of coffee is very subjective, said Izel Michel, a Carol Stream, Ill. native and graduate assistant in the Coffee Lab at North Central.

“I think a good cup of coffee would be one where it not only tastes good … but also one that I know came from a place of good. Something that was sourced ethically I think is what makes for me, personally, a good cup of coffee,” Michel said.

Click here to read the full article on the Naperville Sun.

Caliendo addresses the Supreme Court returning for a new term, first in-person cases in over 18 months on FOX 32 Chicago

U.S. Supreme Court justices took a step back toward normalcy on Monday, Oct. 4 on the first day of their new nine-month term as they conducted oral arguments in person for the first time in 19 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, holding a muted and polite session in a socially distanced courtroom.

Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, interviewed with FOX 32 Chicago, where he talked about the upcoming court term with key cases on abortion, guns and religion.

“Honestly, as a political scientist, I’m interested in the support that the Court has and the erosion that we’ve seen in public support for the Court among calls for progressives to pack the Court for Congress and the President while they have the power to add seats and more justices.”

Click here to watch the full interview on FOX 32 Chicago

Towns responds to top questions regarding work-study in College Express

A work-study position is a type of part-time job—either on campus or off campus with approved employers in community service–that’s available to undergraduate and graduate students who file the FAFSA. The goal is for is for students to obtain flexible jobs that pay, while they continue to gain valuable career skills throughout their college years.

Kevin Towns, North Central’s financial aid director, interviewed with College Express, where he detailed how best to approach a work-study position and benefits it could bring to a student’s experience.

“Employers want students who have work experiences,” Towns says. “Work-study provides opportunities to get that experience in a space that still accommodates for being a student first.”

Click here to read the full story on the College Express website.

Caliendo discusses how lawmakers rushed to pass bill to avoid government shutdown on FOX 32 Chicago

President Biden signed a bill Thursday, Sept. 30 extending government funding through Dec. 3, averting a partial shutdown hours before current funding expired. The bill passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support earlier in the day. The legislation, which also includes $28.6 billion in emergency disaster aid and $6.3 billion to help resettle Afghan evacuee, passed 65-35 in the Senate, and 254 to 175 a few hours later in the House.

Democrats had initially sought to attach a suspension of the debt ceiling to the funding bill, but Republicans have refused to vote to increase the government’s borrowing limit, tanking that effort in the Senate. The continuing partisan battle over the debt has pushed lawmakers right to the Oct. 1 funding deadline, though Congress often extends government spending at the last minute.

Stephen Maynard Caliendo was interviewed on FOX 32 Chicago, where he discussed how the rush to pass a bill and avoid a government shutdown is only a temporary solution.

“The federal government is only allowed to spend x amount of dollars more than it has in it at any given time and run up a debt that will be paid back later,” said Caliendo. “Some fiscal conservatives are very concerned that raising that will be problematic.”

Click here to watch the full interview on FOX 32 Chicago.