Northwest College

Annual Report



Institutional Priority: Connections
Strategic Priority

Innovation and distinction in CONNECTIONS


  • Faculty Showcase – NWC’s Teaching and Learning Center hosted a late-spring Faculty Showcase to highlight teaching strategies that encourage student learning. In addition to being exposed to evidence-based teaching strategies, attendees heard what inspires faculty to promote a learning-centered environment and to prepare students to thrive in their chosen careers. 
  • Perennial fun! – The college’s second annual Paint the Town Red event returned to downtown Powell last summer, offering a wide variety of activities for all ages. Throughout the afternoon, guests connected with their community, enjoyed many cuisine options, listened to live entertainment and much more. The Northwest College Foundation’s Heart of a Trapper Trail Run and Hike followed the next day, featuring a 5K run option, eight-mile hike and half marathon.
  • Board meetings in Cody and Meeteetse – NWC’s publically-elected, seven-member Board of Trustees changed its on-campus meeting venue twice during the year, taking regular monthly meetings to Cody in March and Meeteetse in August. The change provided more access to taxpayers outside Powell and helped Trustees become better acquainted with the college’s entire district of Park County.
  • Open house at college’s Cody Center – At the start of the fall semester, area residents were invited to attend an open house at the Cody Center to learn about offerings such as general education classes, business trainings and seminars, classes for degree programs, adult education classes, and high school equivalency preparatory classes.
  • Mentoring Night – From nurses, doctors and counselors, to ranchers, business owners and realtors, successful women from throughout Park Country visited with emerging professionals during a presentation sponsored by the NWC Foundation’s Women’s Giving Circle.
  • Job Fair in Cody – Job seekers connected with key resources when NWC’s Center for Training and Development joined the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services in hosting a free Job Fair in Cody.
  • ENACTUS Postpartum depression conference – As part of a group project, members of the Northwest College Enactus Team hosted an informational conference about postpartum depression, featuring a variety of guest speakers. Following opening statements by NWC President Stefani Hicswa, speakers discussed signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, those who suffer from it and the importance of raising awareness. Enactus is a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to entrepreneurial action.
  • NWC Foundation holds Ag Showcase – Hosted by the Northwest College Foundation, area residents were invited to enjoy an evening of food and fun at this year’s Ag Showcase. Live and silent auctions featured items from sponsors including Briess, Woodward Tractor, Linton’s Big R and Big Horn Co-op.
  • Fitness Friday series – Workout enthusiasts were encouraged to lace up their tennis shoes and join the Johnson Fitness Center for a new spring “Fitness Friday” series. Designed to help individuals of all fitness levels, events alternated between presentations by area professionals and exercise classes.
  • Backpack Blessings donations – Thanks to NWC employee generosity, 85.8 pounds of donations were distributed to Powell public school students through Classified Staff members’ participation in the Backpack Blessings program.

Following news of layoffs at Cody Labs, the college offered retraining funds for affected workers. The NWC Foundation, a private, nonprofit corporation that secures and manages gifts on behalf of the college, committed up to $70,000 over a two-year period for tuition and fees to help employees refocus their careers.

NWC’s Criminal Justice program hosted law enforcement training for more than 280 officers from Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Training included exposure to the college’s state-of-the-art Firearms Simulator and presentations by the director of Sheepdog Seminars/The Bulletproof MindsetGroup International, one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of human aggression and the roots of violence and violent crime.

This year’s Park County Leadership Institute (PCLI), sponsored by the college, featured a variety of topics and speakers for emerging and established leaders alike. Created in 1996, the organization aims to encourage individuals to build relationships within their business and community, balance personal and professional growth, develop leadership skills through education, and inspire participants to take on leadership roles through interactive learning experiences.


  • Northwest Jazz Festival – It was a musical two days at the 36thannual Northwest College Jazz Festival. To kick off the event, featured guest artists jazz singer Kate Reid, saxophonist Brad Leali, drummer Austin Hass, bassist Clipper Anderson and pianist Josh Nelson performed in concert at the Powell High School Auditorium. Additionally, the festival provided performance opportunities for vocal and instrumental jazz groups.
  • Fifth Annual Guitar Summit & Vocal Summit – The Music Department’s fifth annual Guitar Summit featured Rhythm Future Quartet, an acoustic jazz ensemble. Led by violinist Jason Anick and guitarist Olli Soikkeli, the foursome performs dynamic and lyrical arrangements of both gypsy jazz standards and original compositions. The fifth annual Vocal Summit followed at the start of the new year, featuring NWC Studio Singers, classical vocalist Daniel Schreiner and contemporary vocalist and composer Erin Bentlage. After both concerts, workshops were held for performers of all ages, who were interested in expanding their musical repertoire.
  • Civic Orchestra fetes award-winning 16-year-old pianist – The Northwest Civic Orchestra presented its fall concert, featuring 16-year-old award-winning soloist Tanner Jorden. Born in Billings, Montana, Jorden began his musical career at age seven and began winning local competitions in 2015. In 2018, after receiving the Judges’ Distinction Award and first place in the American Protégé International Concerto competition, Jorden was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall.
  • Music Department hosts District Music Clinic for high school students – The Music Department hosted more than 200 of the best high school music students from the Big Horn Basin for the 2018 North Big Horn Basin District Music Clinic. Choir and band students spent two days preparing music that was presented in concert at the Nelson Performing Arts Auditorium.
  • Art Dept hosts award-winning commercial photographer’s lecture – Award-winning fine art and commercial photographer Susan Burnstine visited campus to share a free evening lecture last fall. Best known for her surreal black and white images that illustrate her dreams, Burnstine discussed having terrible nightmares early in her childhood and how she recreates the dreams in her photos using 21 handmade film cameras and lenses that are frequently challenging and unpredictable.
  • Harry Jackson’s early works exhibited – Showcasing the spirit of the American West, an exhibit featuring the work of late artist Harry Jackson was displayed last fall. Widely known as an accomplished sculptor and painter with a limitless range, Jackson spent seven decades capturing the West while residing in Cody, Meeteetse and Lost Cabin, Wyoming.
  • Photography of Edward S. Curtis exhibited – A traveling exhibit featuring images of American photographer and ethnologist Edward S. Curtis was displayed in the college’s SinClair Gallery. The exhibit showcased pieces from Edward S. Curtis’ “The North American Indian,” a work that provides a permanent record of 80 North American tribes through ethnographic notes and more than 1,500 photographs included in 20 volumes. Accompanying the volumes were 20 portfolios containing 36 photogravure prints each.
  • Short Film installation transforms art gallery into makeshift theater – Artist Ronna Nemitz returned to the college with her most recent installation “A Short Film.” Transforming the gallery into a makeshift theater, the immersive multimedia installation reimagined the artist’s experience of losing her parents through layered imagery of clothes, video footage and sculptural elements. An alumna of NWC, Nemitz returned to Wyoming to revisit the place of her youth.
  • Award-winning author Robert Moor gives Wasden Reading – Award-winning writer and journalist Robert Moor delivered the annual Wasden Reading. In his New York Times best-selling debut, “On Trails: An Exploration,” Moor shined a light on the many paths that connect the world and how they guide people through their lives.
  • Award-winning author John Clayton appears in Writers Series – As part of the Writers Series, High Plains Book Award winner John Clayton delivered an illustrated lecture from his book “Wonderlandscape” at the Park County Public Library in Cody. By sharing a detailed account of the park’s cultural history, readers see how the values of the era shape and redefine the park for each generation. The Montana-based writer’s work regularly appears in Montana Quarterly, Big Sky Journal and dozens of other publications.
  • Renowned author and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams – As part of the Writers Series, award-winning author and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams discussed her latest book “The Hour of Land.” Part memoir and part natural history, she shared what it means to shape a landscape with its own evolutionary history.
  • National Geographic writer Mark Jenkins returns to NWC – Mark Jenkins, critically acclaimed author and National Geographicfield staff writer, returned to NWC to present “A Journey into the Ancient Namib Desert: Rock Paintings, a Vanished People and Water Scarcity.” On assignment for National Geographicin 2015, Jenkins climbed Brandberg in 120 degree heat to explore this alfresco art museum and reflect on the challenges of water scarcity.
  • Alumni and student features on website – A new “#WeAreNWC” series featuring the stories and personal accounts of students, faculty and alumni from a variety of academic areas was launched and is available on NWC’s website. In order to garner further engagement, the features are also posted to NWC’s social media platforms.
  • Community theatre productions – Nearly 1,300 elementary school students and teachers were treated to three different community theatre productions including “Laugh? I Nearly Went to Miami!,” “The Awesome ’80s Prom” and “Hyronomous A. Frog.” Featuring actors and actresses of all ages, each performance attracted audience members from throughout the Big Horn Basin.


  • Taste the Nations – Participants at a Taste the Nations fundraiser hosted by Intercultural Programs and the NWC Foundation feasted on an evening of international cuisine and wine tasting. Many of NWC’s 55 international students from 26 countries shared information about their cultures through table displays and demonstrations as well as served dinner to guests. Proceeds from the event and raffle help fund NWC international student scholarships and student travel.
  • Multicultural Showcase – The annual Multicultural Showcase returned to campus, presenting a colorful and festive afternoon of food samples prepared by NWC international students from Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America; displays of authentic collectibles; live music common to students’ homelands; and a silent auction.
  • Lunar New Year fete – NWC international students from China, Hong Kong and Macau helped area residents learn how the Lunar New Year is celebrated in China and other Asian countries. The public presentation ended with festive games and activities traditional to Chinese New Year celebrations.
  • Buffalo feast – Celebrating Native American Heritage Month, the Native Ways Club hosted its annual Buffalo Feastincluding buffalo brisket, Three Sister soup, Bannock bread and other foods indigenous to the Americas.
  • Travel the world ... during lunch! – Area residents were invited to vicariously travel the world—from Asia and Europe to Africa and Latin America—through a lunch series hosted by NWC’s Intercultural Programs.


  • Middle school student science fair – Area budding middle school scientists throughout the Big Horn Basin competed in the Northern Junior Regional Science Fair on campus. Nearly 70 sixth through eighth graders showcased a variety of projects in 12 categories, which were evaluated by judges. Those earning first, second and third place awards qualified for the Wyoming State Fair.
  • Summer Science Camp for kids – Children ages 5-10 explored oceans and marine life in a summer camp hosted by the Children's Learning and Care Center. Participants enjoyed videos, experiments, creative projects, related books, journaling, experiments and outside play.
  • Summer Music Camp – Held for nearly 30 years, the college’s Annual Yellowstone Summer Music Camp attracted nearly 100 students, who received instruction by extraordinary music faculty from across the nation.
  • Health career fair – Ten employers participated in the college’s Nursing and Allied Health Career Fair, allowing current students to network and visit with prospective employers about a wide range of health-related careers. NWC offers degrees or certificates for Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse, Certified Nursing Assistant, Allied Health, Certified Medical Assistant, Emergency Medical Services and Phlebotomy.
  • Career Day – Partnering with high schools in Park, Big Horn and Washakie Counties, NWC hosted its annual Career Day for high school sophomores. Presenters in a variety of employment areas helped nearly 285 students explore career options.


  • Field Studies expedition to Greece and Italy – Area residents were invited to pack their bags and join Intercultural Programs on a 10-day field studies expedition to Greece and Italy during this year’s spring break.
  • Chile trip for photography and travel enthusiasts – Photography and travel enthusiasts alike traveled with Photographic Communications on an eight-day excursion to Chile during spring break.
  • Alumni Association sponsors European travel adventure – From the Dalmatian Islands of Korcula and Hvar to touring Plitvice Lakes National Park and exploring the Sheppard Museum in Bohinj, alumni and friends of NWC are invited join the Alumni Association and pack their bags for a two-week eastern European travel adventure this fall.

Board of Trustees President Dusty Spomer of Powell was honored with the statewide Trustee Leadership Award presented by the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees. A Wyoming native, Spomer joined the Board in 2014. A chief operating officer for T-O Engineers, Spomer is responsible for the company’s 140 employees and operations in eight states.

A retired food company executive, Cal Jacobs has turned his attention to championing philanthropy in his community. Retiring as President and General Manager of Rochelle Foods, a subsidiary of Hormel Foods, in 2011, today Jacobs focuses on trying to wipe out hunger in Rochelle, Illinois. As President of the Rochelle Area Community Foundation, hundreds of people help support his mission of community philanthropy. Born and raised in Powell, Jacobs graduated from Northwest College in 1973 and transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he earned a bachelor’s degree.

To sharpen responses during emergencies, NWC continued Emergency Management Team drills, responding to a mock situation involving a flu pandemic on campus. Team members developed objectives and action plans in order to care for ill students and employees, communicate on and off campus, and link with local health care officials.

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