DCTC Staff Spotlight: Nicole Meulemans

Nicole Meulemans

Student Life director takes student participation to the next level and beyond

Student Life is dynamic and thriving at DCTC. What was once a small, student government-centered program with only a handful of student clubs has grown dramatically since Nicole Meulemans took on her role as DCTC director of student life. Meulemans has been the driving force in generating new student life activities and veterans affairs initiatives, leading to repeated state and national recognition for the college. DCTC President Ron Thomas credits Meulemans’ for the rapid growth in student life engagement and activities. “Nicole has energized the entire Student Life program at DCTC into one of the premier programs in Minnesota. She has created something special for our students and I am honored to have her on our leadership team at the college,” Thomas said.

Nicole Meulemans recognized as MSCSA 2012 Student Senate Advisor of the YearIn April, Meulemans was recognized by the Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) as the 2012 Student Senate Advisor of the Year, after being nominated two consecutive years by the Student Senate. “To be nominated for something like this by the students I work with on a daily basis is the greatest honor I could receive,” said Meulemans. Student Senate President Andy Chernisky said of her recognition, “Nicole is an outstanding advisor who goes above and beyond the duties of her job. She’s far more than an advisor, she’s a friend.”

President Thomas echoed that praise. “Nicole is a wonderful advocate for the students of DCTC,” he said. “This award demonstrates her hard work and commitment at the state level.”


Meulemans’ prime accomplishments in Student Life include developing, implementing or overseeing the following:
  • DCTC recognized as Beyond the Yellow Ribbon CampusDCTC’s designation as a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Campus
  • New Student Orientation
  • Student Ambassador program
  • Athlete Retention Plan
  • Veterans Resource Center and DCTC’s ranking as a Military Friendly School
  • Renovation of the Student Life Center in 2010
  • Blue Knight Gala and Hall of Fame Induction
    • Benefit raised $8,000 for athletic scholarships in 2011.
  • New and innovative campus events, including:
    • Military Family Day
    • Health Fair 5K
    • Student Life Fair
Meulemans also provided essential counsel and administrative support for the following:
  • DCTC Campus Lions Club Habitat for Humanity volunteersAdding 15 new student clubs since 2008
  • Student Senate accomplishments:
    • Initiating campus smoking policy change in 2010
    • Achieving Star Campus status in 2011 and 2012 through MSCSA
    • Partnering with the DCTC Foundation on the Minnesota Community Power and Minnesota Schools Cutting Carbon grants (totaling $25,000) in 2010
  • Civic engagement projects, including:
    • Habitat for Humanity
    • Adopt a Highway
    • Packing backpacks for the children of military personnel deployed overseas
  • Business Professionals of America’s 14 national competitors in 2012
  • SkillsUSA’s continual expansion, leading to a college record 12 national competitors in 2012
  • Students as they have ran for and been elected to serve in state and regional officer positions for the Minnesota State College Student Association, Phi Theta Kappa, and SkillsUSA.
New Student Orientation

Meulemans has been instrumental in implementing new programs at DCTC, with the New Student Orientation as a prime example. “Nicole started at the ground level creating our New Student Orientation, and it exceeded all expectations,” reported Dean of Student Affairs Greg McCalley. The orientation included breakout sessions geared toward student success, and the opportunity to connect with fellow students and meet instructors before starting classes. “Because of Nicole’s efforts, we were able to reach out to more than two hundred new students in a way we have not communicated to them before,” added McCalley. “Nicole exemplifies the spirit of collaboration and excellence in all her efforts.”

Meulemans’ efforts have been integral in assisting military veterans at DCTC. She and other college personnel were recognized in 2010 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty when DCTC was among the first three Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses to be designated a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Campus. Meulemans currently serves on the Rosemount Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Community Network. She is working with the Minnesota National Guard to coordinate the utilization of DCTC’s facility for a reintegration event for returning veterans. Additional work Meulemans has done for veterans includes testifying at the Minnesota House of Representatives in support of Higher Education Veterans Programs, presenting at MnSCU conferences on how to become a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Campus, serving as a mentor to other colleges hoping to achieve the status, and partnering with DCTC’s Transportation Careers programs to offer car care days for veterans and their families.

Phi Theta Kappa Feed a Body, Feed a Mind DriveThe number of student clubs and organizations at DCTC has tripled since Meulemans became student life director. This growth is in large part due to the support and guidance she provides. “Nicole has been extremely supportive of SkillsUSA and other student clubs that have been generated out of transportation and industry,” said Mike Opp, dean of technical and transportation careers and a SkillsUSA advisor. “Several years ago, we discussed growing SkillsUSA on campus and Nicole offered utilizing Student Life’s resources to help promote, support and grow SkillsUSA. We have raised the quality of this student organization every year since.”

Campus Lions Club Advisor Brett Kolles added, “Nicole has supported the Lions tirelessly since the club’s inception in 2010. Her enthusiasm, coordination, participation and creative problem solving have proven invaluable. Nicole is more than an asset; she is a gem!”

Meulemans credits her colleagues for their collaborative efforts in the growth of Student Life.  “It makes me very happy to work with an excellent team of people who continuously work together to make DCTC a better place for our students.” Meulemans also attributes much of her success to her family. “I am very grateful to my very supportive family, which has always been there for me.”

Nicole Meulemans and Anna VoightAssistant Director of Student Life Anna Voight attributes Meulemans and her leadership for the recent accomplishments in Student Life. “Nicole leads by example and puts forth 110 percent effort in all she does. She has a great sense of humor, and can make anyone’s day with an encouraging word.”

Voight added, “If not for the strong foundation Nicole has been building in Student Life for the past eight years, we would not be having the success we are now. It’s a privilege to work with someone who is so devoted to our students  and works each day to bring our Student Life program to an even higher level.”

Watching students learn from their experiences and being a part of their academic journey is what Meulemans enjoys most about working in Student Life, and each student she works with holds a special place in her heart. “We have such a short time with students at the two-year college and we need to maximize the positive impact of the experience while they are here,” Meulemans said. “I take the efforts of students personally. Their successes are my successes and their failures are my failures.”

Meulemans began her career at DCTC in 2004 in the role of wellness center coordinator, where she managed the development of the campus Wellness Center and health and wellness-related programming. In 2005, she became the assistant director of student life and athletics, where she served as an academic advisor for athletics, advised clubs and organizations, managed sports information, and served as distance learning coordinator for Southwest Minnesota State University. She served as an assistant soccer coach in 2007 and was hired in her current role as the director of student life and activities in 2008.

The Meulemans Family: Nicole with husband Ryan, Addison (4) and Bennett (2.5)Prior to DCTC, Meulemans worked with the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), the Minnesota Thunder, the National Sports Center, and as a teller supervisor at Wells Fargo Bank. Meulemans was selected to be the commencement speaker at Minnesota State University Mankato in 2008, when she graduated with her master’s degree and 4.0 GPA in sports administration. She was featured in Sports Management Insider,an MNSU publication, and her master’s thesis—Factors Influencing the College Choice Decisions of Student Athletes at Two Year Institutions—was presented at the American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPRD) national convention in 2010.  Meulemans remains connected to MNSU through the alumni network of the university’s Exercise Science program, where she mentors currently enrolled students and alumni.

At the end of the day, it’s not the recognition or achievements Meulemans remembers, but the people she has worked with and the friendships she has built along the way. “Accomplishments on paper will fade, but the relationships I have developed with students, staff and faculty will stay with me the rest of my life.”

Student Senate Vice President Ben Jackson echoed Meulemans’ feelings, “Nicole has touched many lives, including mine, because she genuinely cares about us and our future beyond DCTC. She has changed my life and I am forever grateful to call her a friend.”

  • MSCSA 2012 Student Senate Advisor of the Year Nomination Letter

MSCSA 2012 Student Senate Advisor of the Year Acceptance Speech

For more information about Student Life at DCTC, contact:
  • Nicole Meulemans
    Director of Student Life and Activities
  • Anna Voight
    Assistant Director of Student Life
    SkillsUSA Minnesota Advisor