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NCTC Announces 2018 Student and Alumna of the Year


NCTC Announces 2018 Student and Alumna of the Year

Northland Honors Standout Student-Athlete Madison Stenzel and Retired Attorney Ivette Garrett for Scholarly and Community Achievements

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn, May 7, 2018 – Northland Community & Technical College (NCTC) proudly announces the 2018 Student and Alumna of the Year for the Thief River Falls campus, Madison Stenzel and Ivette Garrett, respectively.

Student of the Year

Stenzel, a 2016 honors graduate from Clearbrook-Gonvick High School, pursued an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts at NCTC and will graduate this May with a 4.0 GPA, earning the school’s highest academic honors. She plans to attend Bemidji State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in sports management with a minor in business.

In high school, Stenzel was an an active member of the National Honor Society and served as Secretary of the Student Council. She was also a standout athlete, participating in volleyball, basketball and track. She was a two-year captain of her basketball team and earned MVP and First Team All-Conference honors in the Northwoods Conference.

“I chose to attend NCTC because of Pioneers Athletics,” Stenzel said, “but I was undecided in my major. My experience here has been great. I have met lifetime friends. The instructors here get to know you on a one-on-one basis and you aren’t just a number. I am glad I chose to attend NCTC.”

Stenzel continued to shine on the court at NCTC, becoming a captain of the Pioneers Women’s Basketball team. She helped lead the team to two appearances in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III National Championships. Throughout her career at NCTC, Stenzel earned honorable mentions from the Minnesota College Athletics Conference (MCAC) All-Northern Division team her sophomore year and was named to the First Team NJCAA All-Academic in 2017. That year she also won the All-MCAC Academic Award.

Shannon Nelson, NCTC Business Instructor and Head Women’s Basketball Coach, praised Stenzel’s achievements and dedication both on and off the court.

“Madison has many intangible qualities that make her a great representative of the students and student-athletes here at NCTC,” Nelson said. “She is a great teammate who puts the needs of others in front of her own. She is a hard worker in the classroom, on the court and in all other endeavors. She serves as a positive role model to young people in the community and Northwest Minnesota.”

Alumna of the Year

Ivette (Torkelson) Garrett graduated in 1965 from NCTC, then known as the Thief River Falls Area Vocational Technical Institute. After earning her associate’s degree from NCTC in 1968, Garrett moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where she graduated from the University of Alaska in May 1972 with a bachelor’s in psychology. Her academic pursuits ultimately took her back to Minnesota, where she received an MBA from the College of St. Thomas in 1987 before earning her Juris Doctorate (JD) with cum laude honors from the William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law) in 1992.

Garrett’s long list of academic and professional honors, as well as her commitment to community service has distinguished her among her peers and fellow Northland alums. She credits NCTC for forming the foundation of lifelong success.

“Northland provided me an opportunity to continue my education near my home, as well as making it economically affordable,” Garrett said. “Northland was and is a wonderful institute of higher learning that I am sure will benefit anyone who attends just like it did for me.”

Among her many accomplishments, Garrett received the 1986 Small Business Administration, St. Paul District, award for outstanding management; clerked for the Chief Judge in Minnesota’s First Judicial District; was appointed by District Court, First Judicial District, to serve on the Charter Commission of the City of South St. Paul for a 4-year term; was honored in 2002 by the South Suburban Adult Basic Education organization and the City of South St. Paul for her volunteer work in adult basic education; and served as an attorney for the St. Paul Minnesota District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, specializing in labor law, admiralty, ethics and tort law.

After retiring in 2008, Garrett and her family moved to Germany and later back to the U.S., where she volunteered three days per week at her granddaughters’ elementary schools. In 2017, she moved back to Thief River Falls, where she continues her volunteer service three days per week at Challenger Elementary and serves as president of the St. Pauli Church council.