UpNorth Insights: Promise Grads At Michigan Tech

Promise graduates Andy Sleder and Devon DeVriendt at Michigan Tech.

Promise graduates Andy Sleder and Devon DeVriendt at Michigan Tech.

In Leelanau County we hear Up North as a catchphrase for the tourist industry, but how do you describe going to school “up north” when the university is located where it’s winter most of the school year and engineering is king? Promise scholarship recipients Devon DeVriendt and Andrew Sleder talked with Ryan Blessing, President of The Northport Promise and a Michigan Tech grad himself, on their college experience and on how the Northport Promise support helps.

Ryan: What’s your Michigan Tech experience been like?

Andy: It’s been a tough, long road. I feel like I’ve been gone a long time. When I go home, I notice the gray on my dog’s nose. But at the same time, my time at tech is flying by. I will miss dorm life. For work, I’ve taken up a job at the APSRC Advanced Power Systems Research Center, testing diesel engines.

Devon: It’s appropriately challenging. The semesters can be tough and sometimes I ask myself, is it worth it? But getting through each semester means so much to me. Currently, I’m working on a flow meter for my senior project.

Ryan: How did the Northport Promise help you?

Andy: It’s peace of mind. Being able to keep the debt down allows me to focus on school.

Devon: It takes the the load off and lets me focus on my studies.

Ryan: Would you recommend Michigan Tech to future Northport graduates?

Andy: I would definitely recommend Michigan Tech and I’d also recommend Northwest Michigan College in Traverse City. I was able to join study groups, needed no loans and my credits from NMC transferred to Michigan Tech.

Devon: I would recommend this school because it truly reminds me of home. It reminds me of how beautiful the area is, while also being challenging. The challenge makes the reward even more worthwhile. This has been a blast, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Ryan: Have you enjoyed life in the Upper Peninsula?

Andy: Definitely. I joined the sailing club and we sailed to Isle Royale. I hope to relocate here someday.

Devon: Yes! While I’m ready to move on, the community and life at tech are similar to the community of Northport.

Ryan: What are your future plans?

Andy: This summer I have an internship in Traverse City. I have one more semester at Tech and then I’ll be in Germany for a semester.

Devon: I’ll be working at Michigan Tech this summer. I’ve been making reports for the school based on the savings they could achieve in regards to lighting. I counted 4,500 light bulbs around the campus

A big thanks to Andy and Devon for taking time out of their schedule to talk about their college experience and an even bigger thank you to the community that supports the Northport Promise and helps our students prepare for successful careers.