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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Former ILCC assistant professor now teaches transfer courses

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mark Zabawa teaches science transfer courses at ILCC.
Mark Zabawa returned to Iowa Lakes Community College in 2009 as a teacher. A former ILCC student, Zabawa went on to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. He has earned two masters degrees, and he spends his summers at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, as a visiting professor researching boron neutron capture therapy. This therapy is used to treat patients suffering from malignant brain tumors.

Zabawa, in his third year of teaching chemistry and biology courses, understands that not all of his students will transfer to a four-year college degree.

"I have a nice mixture of students," Zabawa said, "a lot of nursing students who are getting pre-requisites, and a lot of transfer students who are going to be going to four-year universities after doing their first two years here."

With an increasing number of colleges extending on to master's programs, many students see the benefit of spending two years at a community college, such as Iowa Lakes, and then transferring to a four-year school. Iowa Lakes is close to home and affordable, and the facilities are "as good as your going to get," according to Zabawa.

In addition to his teaching, Zabawa advocates for the Iowa Lakes STEM program: a program focused on developing the skills required for scientifically-minded university students.

"We both have our college students and high school students. Iowa Lakes is an excellent place for local high school students to get quite a bit of college credit while still in high school, so they can actually start college with one year's worth of standing," Zabawa said.

In addition, Zabawa notes that a community college, such as Iowa Lakes, can prepare students to better succeed at a larger institution.

"A student can start without any background, and we can take them to where they need to go," Zabawa said. "There's no one we can't get on the right path."

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