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Degree or certificate program at CLC: A.A., sustainability, 2014.

Transfer school, degree and year: B.S., earth, society and environmental studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2016; now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in forestry at Michigan State University.

Hometown: Oxford, Mich.

Interests and hobbies: Gardening, weightlifting, walking my dogs and working on conservation efforts such as invasive plant and shrub control.

Nicole Timmreck

When I was living in Lake County, I decided to enroll at CLC because I kept hearing that the college is one of the better schools for transfer students, with general education classes on a par with those offered at four-year universities. One example was a course in American literature from the early to mid-1900s. It opened my eyes to the great short stories of that era, such as Edith Wharton’s “Ethan Frome,” which became one of my favorites. The instructor engaged the class by explaining the history of the time in which literature was written, helping us interpret symbolism and encouraging class discussions. 

I started as a business major, but after taking an environmental chemistry course, I changed my major to environmental studies. The class had several field trips, visiting a learning farm and a water treatment plant in Libertyville and a sewage treatment plant in Waukegan. We also researched different environmental careers.

Sustainability is much more than conserving energy and natural resources. By working with nature, in behaviors such as eating locally grown, pesticide-free vegetables, we can improve public health. In the long run, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind create jobs and save money because they reduce the need to import oil from other countries.

CLC is very sustainability minded, and the Grayslake Campus is an ecological oasis. A portion of the property has been preserved for native prairie plants and grasses, and the arboretum has an apiary (bee colony) and nearly 200 species of trees. There’s a geothermal loop around the campus and the new Science Building, which is scheduled to open in 2017, has solar panels, rainwater harvesting and many other green features. All of this is admirable and inspiring.

Most of my CLC courses were online, and I really appreciated the convenience. It was nice to take classes around my schedule, listening to audio clips or viewing video clips of lectures when I was primed and ready.

In many CLC classes, I noticed at least one other military veteran. That made me feel good, because I’m a Marine lance corporal who has served in Afghanistan. If you’re a veteran in college and you have a problem, you tend to go to another veteran for support, at least initially.

After graduating from Michigan State University, I eventually would like to move to Germany and have a career in forest management. Germany is one of the leading nations in developing sustainable energy. Instead of burning coal, many of their power plants burn wood chips and other forest biomass to heat steam turbines.