The Northwestern College Magazine
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Anticipating transfer, an NMC student moves past challenges, loads up on credits and finds his niche.
AFTER DROPPING OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL, PHOENIX KNIPE EARNED A GED AND ENROLLED AT NMC, WHERE HE'S THRIVED.
FROM HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT
to Big Ten university is an unlikely path, but with NMC in between, Phoenix Knipe is forging forward and making it his own.
After starting at NMC a year ago, in just three semesters he’s earned 66 college credits and expects to be able to transfer into the University of Michigan or Michigan State with senior status in fall 2023. He plans to major in neuroscience, possibly with a double major in computer science.
“I love learning. I want to be a professor some day,” says Knipe, of Traverse City. “I max out my credits every semester.”
At just 19, Knipe has already learned a lot about life, too. At 16, he moved out of his family’s home due to “different worldviews” with his parents. Then he dropped out of Traverse City West High School so he could work more and support himself. On his 18th birthday he took the GED and then enrolled at NMC.
While he chose NMC for its affordability, the caliber of instructors and the depth of campus life and support has been better than Knipe ever imagined.
“I’ve had great professors here. I’m very glad I went here,” he says. Science instructors like Tamara Coleman in biology and Mike Franklin in physics steered him to his chosen major.
“HE STARTED OFF BEING A BACK-ROW KIND OF STUDENT WHO BLOSSOMED INTO THIS CONFIDENT AND COMPETENT LEADER IN OUR CLASS. IT WAS WONDERFUL TO SEE.”
Coleman was thrilled to see Knipe find direction in her Human Anatomy & Physiology class. The entire class, herself included, had to readjust to the face-to-face setting, after two years of virtual instruction.
“He started off being a back-row kind of student who blossomed into this confident and competent leader in our class. It was wonderful to see,” Coleman says.
A turning point came when she turned the mechanics of the science of stress from a lecture into an experiential lesson. Coleman taught Knipe and his classmates how to manage stress in their own lives through deep breathing, body scans and visualization. He started visiting her office regularly, borrowing books to explore material further.
“He was like a sponge. He wanted to take in as much information as he possibly could. I really loved to see that, in him, in any student. To grow that much was really outstanding,” Coleman says. “He’s a brilliant young man.”
Beyond academics, Knipe lives on campus in North Hall, is a member of NMC’s varsity Esports team, for which he receives a scholarship, and works as a lab assistant in the chemistry lab. A travel lover, he’s looking forward to studying abroad with the biology department in Iceland this spring.
About half of NMC students transfer to another college or university. NMC advisers work individually with students to ensure NMC credits will transfer to their desired school. Transfer fairs and visits are also held on campus. Transfer guides, by
jor and school, are available online.
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