Nicholle Palmieri-Sicknick & Craig Sicknick ’00
What have you been up to since graduation?
We both transferred to Rutgers University, from where we both earned Bachelor’s of Arts. We were married in June 2002. From there, life has been a journey! We both worked various for jobs many years to make ends meet, and then both went on to earn Master’s Degrees, Craig in Business, and Nicholle in Secondary Education. Nicholle eventually obtained her dream job teaching high school English to at-risk students in a youth detention facility, and Craig works as analyzer technician at a multinational energy company.
What is one of your greatest achievements since graduating from MCC?
Getting to where we are today, together!
What is your fondest memory of MCC?
Oh, brother, there are too many to count! But Center 3 is where most of our greatest memories live! From January 1999 to May 2000, Nicholle worked for the then-Dean, Dr. Bernadette Mendonez-Russell, as a work-study, in Center 3. That is how we met, when Craig came by one afternoon to turn in a change-of-major form for approval. One of Nicholle’s jobs as work-study assistant was to greet other students and to deliver forms to Dean Russell and to Karen Gormish – who now works elsewhere on campus and with whom we are still friends! Upon reading Craig’s last name, “Sicknick,” Karen and Nicholle had a great laugh in the file room!
Soon after, we started talking regularly as Craig would drop in for advisement, and we became friends, and eventually started dating. Dean Russell and the faculty of Center 3 hosted many activities of which we were an integral part. The staff there all predicted we would be married – for a long time – and they were right!
What was your favorite place on campus, why?
Center 3, for the reasons above!!!
Who was your favorite professor and why?
Both of us had overall phenomenal experiences with the MCC faculty. As a student in grade school, Nicholle struggled greatly with learning disabilities, and other personal difficulties, that nearly prompted her to drop out of high school. She was lucky to have some very influential teachers back then who convinced her not to. As a result of this early influence, Nicholle has always had great relationships with her professors, even with professors whose courses she never actually took!
Though he liked and respected all of his instructors, Craig readily names Dr. Daniel Zimmerman of the English Department as his favorite. He credits Dr. Z for helping him to hone his writing skills; for inspiring him to think creatively and critically; and for his quirky and fun sense of humor.
If you could offer a current MCC student advice, what would it be?
It is never too late to start doing what you love. Both of us were older than “traditional” age when we started college, and we were both already living on our own with adult commitments. Nicholle was 21 and Craig was 30. Ironically, that was part of what made us successful students. We had already learned a great deal of personal responsibility, and we were not hesitant to advocate for ourselves. Remember that Nicholle, who had struggled academically in grade school, in fact thrived in a college environment, because she was willing to ask for help when she needed it and to admit her strengths and limitations and work with them. Craig, who had been out of the classroom for well over a decade, had to relearn a lot of study habits and even pick up a few new ones. Developing positive working relationships and mutual respect with our instructors also helped a great deal with our success as college students. Our hard work and dedication was quickly noticed by the faculty, and that gave us both a powerful support system, whether we were earning As, Bs, or otherwise. You hear all kinds of stories about professors in college “not caring” about their students. But that is not true. At least not in our experience. As much as we gave our professors at MCC, they gave us back so much more.
Why was attending MCC the right decision for you?
We both developed self-confidence and honed abilities we never knew we had. It gave us a great foundation which we built upon as we continued to develop ourselves personally, academically, and professionally. We fostered some amazing friendships that continue to this day. And last but not least…. we met one another!!!