July 2023 Central Connection
June 30, 2023
Award celebrates Haba’s accomplishments
By Joni Ransom, Chief of Staff
Christine Haba is an inspiration.
She even has a 2023 Grand Island Inspire Award to prove it. In April, she was chosen as the winner in the community partner category for improving the life of others, empowering her colleagues, collaborating with local charities and nonprofits, and exemplifying the spirit of community at its best.
Central Community College is a fortunate recipient of her talents. She has served as assistant director of the college’s adult education (AE) program for almost three years. The individuals who come through the door to learn English or to take GED classes so they can earn a Nebraska high school diploma bring with them different backgrounds, goals and needs.
“It’s a challenge serving so many students and maintaining quality instruction,” Haba said. “It’s a team effort, and we have an excellent team that provides all-around support to students.”
The AE staff often handles around 50 different languages, including some dialects that were unknown to Haba before a student came in speaking one of them. “We only instruct in English,” she said. “Outside of class, we use tools such as Google Translate or an interpreter.”
In addition to ESL or GED classes, students may require career preparation, learning about paychecks, schedules and other details of a work environment that can differ greatly between their country and the U.S.
No matter what the goal, “the high point is always when the student succeeds,” Haba said.
She knows it’s never too late to pursue an educational goal. She started working in the Follett Campus Bookstore at CCC-Hastings in 2015. When the bookstore cut her hours, she noticed the AE office had an opening for a volunteer coordinator and jumped at the chance.
Haba also began investing in her own education. She earned an associate of arts degree from CCC in 2011 and then transferred to Bellevue University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business in 2018 and a master’s degree in human services in 2020. Along the way, she had the support of her parents, Steve and Loy Einsel of Hastings.
In addition to working at CCC, she serves on the boards of Grand Island Citizen Advocacy and the YWCA; is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary organization for women educators, and a core committee member of Young Professionals of Color; and a Leadership Tomorrow graduate. She is active in Big Brothers Big Sisters, serving as a Big to a second grader and supervising a Bigger Big (a high school youth of color who mentors Littles) in the VOICE program.
She lives in Trumbull with her husband, Shawn, and their family, which includes her son, Christian, and his three children, Layne, Morgan and Zakk, all teenagers.
About the Inspire Awards
According to the Grand Island Independent, the Inspire awards celebrate women who have excelled not only in their professional lives but also as leaders and role models who share a strong sense of self and a success-driven work ethic.
The Grand Island Independent sponsors the awards along with Tom Dinsdale Automotive, Bryan/Grand Island Regional Medical Center, Hornady, Union Bank and Trust, Ken’s Appliances, Bosselman Enterprises, Midwest Restaurant Supply, Wayne State College and the University of Nebraska-Kearney.
‘Kneading’ a healthier choice? Try sourdough ...Maria Flores, admissions enrollment specialist, kneads her bread at a sourdough workshop sponsored by the Central Community College-Grand Island wellness committee on June 26. Sourdough is a good choice for people who are sensitive to gluten or who simply want a healthier diet.
Buss to join CCC Board of Governors
Jason Buss of Central City was approved by the Central Community College Board of Governors at its June meeting to fill the remainder of the term previously held by Michelle Broekemier.
She resigned because she was moving outside of District 1.
The board search and interview committee consisted of Chair Rita Skiles, Vice Chair Tom Pirnie and members Sam Cowan, Diane Keller and Dan Quick.
Buss is the human resources manager and global environmental health and safety leader for Camaco in Columbus. He has nearly 20 years of experience in the field.
He has strong ties to CCC. His parents, Steve and Vicki Buss, both worked for CCC-Hastings for most of their careers and are now retired.
He took auto body, AutoCAD and college algebra classes at the Hastings Campus. He later attended classes in Microsoft Excel, leadership, welding and robotic welding at the Columbus Campus.
Buss has served on various CCC advisory boards and most recently participated in the welding advisory meeting and on the mechatronics education curriculum’s business-industry leadership team. As the former human resources deputy director for the Department of Health and Human Services, he used CCC-Kearney for large employee focus groups.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Missouri Western State University.
Heinisch, Wiemer begin their retirements
Steve Heinisch of Columbus and Glen Wiemer of Creston are retiring from Central Community College-Columbus.
Steve Heinisch has been a biological sciences instructor for 42 years.
He said he kept the job fresh by reinventing it and considering it a mission, not just a job, and becoming a part of the campus community.
His single adult job began with a classified ad in an August 1981 issue of the Omaha World-Herald. Although he hadn’t planned on going into teaching – he thought he would be a researcher and environmental consultant – he drove to Columbus for an interview with Joe Preusser, who was then a dean of instruction but would later serve as president of the Columbus Campus and then of the CCC system. He took the job when it was offered to him on a Friday and started teaching the following Monday. “That showed me how desperate they were,” he said with a laugh.
Outside of the classroom, Heinisch served on the campus’ first sustainability and multicultural committees, worked on the Quiz Bowl for area high schools for many years, and was a Phi Theta Kappa sponsor for several years.
But he is most proud of his involvement in Project GPS, the grant he ran for the last six years with fellow instructor Lauren Gillespie. The program was aimed at high school seniors and CCC students interested in working in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field. It included classroom education; professional, academic and personal development activities; individual and group research projects; and extensive mentoring from CCC faculty and industry representatives.
Heinisch called it one of the most satisfying ventures he’s undertaken, one that not only helped the students who participated in the program but also gave him an opportunity to learn and grow. He also enjoyed the lead-up to Project GPS, which was a semester-long sabbatical in 2014 during which he visited and learned about the biology department at every four-year institution in Nebraska.
He is a graduate of Benson High School in Omaha. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in life sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For his master’s research, he worked in the grassy sandhills of Arthur County, where he studied the ecology, water and species interaction and loved living out on the prairie. He still has a hand in a similar project – a tall grass prairie between Schuyler and Richland that has never been plowed. In retirement, he also hopes to continue his relationship with the Nebraska Academy of Science.
His wife, Rosie, retired as college-wide TRIO director in 2020. They have a son and two grandsons.
Glen Wiemer joined the staff as a building maintenance technician in 2004.
He previously did rough construction, built custom cabinetry and farmed. He also worked as a machinist in a blacksmith shop and at Madison Foods.
He is a graduate of Leigh High school and attended CCC for a year.
Wiemer is a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Creston where he served on the church council for 15 years. He has been on the Creston Rural Fire District for 40 years and has been its secretary and treasurer for the last 20 years.
He and his wife, Gloria, have four children and eight grandchildren.
He plans to work part-time at the Columbus Campus from November to April and save the warmer weather for fishing. He also is looking forward to his grandkids’ various activities.
Andrew Fausett has resigned as a systems administrator in the information technology services division.
Abbey Fox has joined the staff as a nursing instructor.
Grand Island Campus
Kazia Marquez has been promoted from environmental sustainability professional intern to director of student activities and engagement.
Two employees are transferring into their same positions at the Kearney Center: Sara Bennett, entrepreneurship director, and Shari Stickels, nursing instructor.
Mikalah Brown has joined the staff as a biology instructor.
Jeff Buescher has shifted positions from facilities management assistant director to agricultural sciences instructor.
Resigning from their positions are Sean Griffin, associate dean of students, and Michael Pham, psychology instructor.
Wanda Cloet, dental hygiene program director, presented two posters at the American Dental Education Association’s (ADEA) Allied Dental Program Directors Conference June 3-6 in Indianapolis. The first was “Dental Hygiene Graduates Survey of Periodontal Classifications and New Code.” The second was presented with Alison Cloet from the University of Minnesota on “Design Considerations for Protective Masks.”
Also presenting a poster at the ADEA conference was Vanessa Crookshank, part-time dental hygiene instructor, on “Digital Dentistry: Leaving a Last Impression.”
In other dental hygiene news, two instructors have been elected into office for the Nebraska Dental Hygienists’ Association: Patty Kirkegaard as vice president and Crookshank as treasurer.
Bobbi Gustason has joined the staff as a nursing instructor.
Deborah Hardin Quirk, 72, died June 19 at her home in Hastings.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Sept. 30 at Lochland Country Club.
She worked at Central Community College in the 1970s and early 1980s, first as development director at the Hastings Campus and then as area-wide communications director in Grand Island.
DeWitt Funeral Home and Cremation Service is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be left at www.dewittfuneral.com