NTC and BSU Distribute Laptops to Students Awarded COVID-19 GEER Grants

On Sept. 29, Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College began distributing laptops to students awarded the Governor’s Emergency Educational Relief grant funding. The nearly $500,000 grant was used to purchase and provide distance learning technology to students in need.

Chrissy Koch, executive director of BSU’s American Indian Resource Center, says the GEER-funded project, Northwoods Equity in Education and Technology for Underserved Students, will address a critical need to provide the technology necessary for underserved students to continue receiving access to educational services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

GEER grant awardee Kristy Iceman, of Red Lake, Minn., is studying medical coding and health care administration at NTC. She said converting to online during the spring after the onset of COVID-19 was difficult at first, but she quickly learned how to learn remotely and the computer will help her complete her coursework from home.

“I love NTC,” Iceman said. “Having a laptop to keep with me means that I don’t have to go to campus to finish my work and I can just do it from home.”

Cecilia Rivera-Enge, a junior technical engineering student at Bemidji State from St. Paul, Minn., said having the ability to use her computer to meet with her professors virtually will make a huge difference in her academic experience. For the first few weeks of the fall semester, Rivera-Enge used a computer with no video capability, making her feel disconnected with her professors and classmates.

“I really like BSU, but right now I wish there were more activities and students that I could interact with,” she said. “This computer is going to help me a lot because now I can actually meet my teachers face-to-face.”

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MN State logoNorthwest Technical College, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, has prepared students for fulfilling careers in high-demand fields for more than 50 years. The college’s accessible, affordable, hands-on programs also help the region’s employers meet their ever-growing need for a highly skilled workforce. NTC serves more than 1,000 students with an excellent education, an open-enrollment policy and affordable tuition. Students may pursue nearly 40 degree, diploma and certificate programs in six distinct career paths. Classes are offered on campus, online, or as a combination of both. NTC is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities. For more, visit ntcmn.edu.