ALUMNI NOTES2021 OUTSTANDING ALUMNI SELECTEDEstablished in 1988, Outstanding Alumni are chosen for their professional achievements and/or leadership in the local or global community.ALEX BRACEEngineering 2017: Since NMC, Brace earned his bachelor’s in engineering at the University of Michigan and has begun PhD studies at the University of Chicago. As part of research teams at Oak Ridge and Argonne National Laboratories, he has been applying artifcial intelligence to molecular biophysics. This work led to his team winning the 2020 Gordon Bell Prize for discoveries related to the infection of human cells by the COVID-19 virus, bridging computational studies with experimental biology.DR. AMANDA KIESSEL1995: Post-NMC, Kiessel studied at Boston University, Brandeis and the University of California, Santa Cruz, completing her PhD in agroecology and sustainable food systems. Kiessel helped co-create the Good Market, a platform of social enterprises and responsible businesses that started in Sri Lanka and moved online in 2016. It now features businesses, cooperatives and community organizations from more than 70 countries, including many fromnorthern Michigan.DR. CLIFFORD MCCLAINAssociate in Arts 1971: Following NMC, McClain received degrees from the University of Idaho and a PhD from the University of Nebraska. As a career and technical educator, he taught and led state programs in Wyoming, Nebraska and Idaho, and was on the faculty of University of Nevada-Las Vegas from 1988-2015. He authored nearly 150 publications and presentations, and was honored as the 2015-16 Career and Technical Postsecondary Educator of the Year.CINDY WARNER1980-1983: An executive technology leader, Warner has spent her career applying technologies to solve operational challenges in global enterprises. She has worked at IBM and FedEx and has served as an advisor to GE, Microsoft and HP, among other Global 1000 clients. Throughout her career, Warner has maintained a commitment to get women into technology. She currently serves on the Michigan Strategic Fund within the Michigan Economic Development Corp., investing in the future of work in Michigan.PHOTO COURTESY OF TODD AND BRAD REED PHOTOGRAPHYTODD REEDArts 1969, published Todd Reed: 50 Years Seeing Michigan Through A Lens. In his half-century of photography, Reed has shot more than one million photos all over the state and his retrospective photography art book explores Michigan’s beauty through his eyes. Reed’s work can be seen everywhere from ArtPrize in Grand Rapids (he has exhibited 10 times) to Pure Michigan billboards throughout the Midwest to the gallery he operates with son Brad Reed in Ludington.TRAVIS HOUSELaw Enforcement 1997, was appointed commander of the Michigan State Police Cadillac post. He will also be responsible for the Traverse City Detachment. The two regions jointly serve the people of Wexford, Manistee, Benzie, Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties. House joined the MSP in 1998 and has held the ranks of trooper, sergeant, detective sergeant, specialist lieutenant, and first lieutenant. DR. ANDREA KRITCHER2001-02, was the team lead at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Cal., which in summer 2021 made an important fusion breakthrough that could open up the possibility of limitless, clean energy. Her team yielded a record-breaking burst of energy of more than 10 quadrillion watts using a ground-breaking method of creating nuclear fusion.After NMC, Kritcher earned a degree in nuclear engineering and radiological science from the University of Michigan. She completed her masters and PhD at the University of California at Berkeley in nuclear engineering and high-energy density plasma physics.ELIAS DE ANDRADE JR.Arts & Sciences 2008, was named executive director of the Texas-based Institute of Space Commerce. Originally from Recife, Brazil, de Andrade’s career in space started in 2012 as Brazilian diplomatic delegate at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. After NMC, he graduated from the University of Vienna and International Space University. NATALIE HOLLABAUGHEducation 2010, earned a law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., in May 2021 and passed the Oregon bar exam in July 2021. She was named as a 2021 fellow by Equal Justice Works, a Washington DC-based organization that facilitates opportunities for law students and lawyers to engage in public service. Hollabaugh will work in Oregon to reduce youth entanglement in the criminal justice system by providing tools for self-advocacy, empowering system-involved youth, and ensuring pro bono access to reduce barriers.KRISTA FRYCZYNSKILaw Enforcement 2019, an offcer with the Traverse City Police Department, was named the LGBTQ liaison as part of a proactive effort to build on and strengthen the relationship between the LGBTQ community and the department. She is pictured with Traverse City Police Chief Jeff O’Brien, a 1991 alumnus. NOAH BYTWERK AND TIA LEHMANNboth Maritime 2021, were hired as engineers aboard the R/V Oceanus, a research vessel owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by Oregon State University. Equipped for up to 30 days at sea, Oceanus covers the eastern Pacific Ocean, with trips ranging from the Bering Sea in the north to the equator in the south and as far west as Hawaii.Know someone you would like to nominate? Visit for more information and a nomination form. Nominations received by March 1, 2022 will be considered for 2022 recognition. Share your alumni news by emailing


Fifth graders learn about potential career paths.



NMC is working with other regional leaders to solve the workforce puzzle, but it’s proving tricky. Complex, interlocking factors including a skills gap, a lack of child care and attainable housing, transportation issues, broadband internet gaps and an aging population, all exacerbated by COVID-19, have created structural instability that threatens economic growth and quality of life.



Adult student finds success after second plunge into college





Steve Drake has taught at Northwestern Michigan College for over 50 years, instructing multiple fellow NMC faculty members during his tenure.