Instructor Profile: Melissa Lemke-Elznic

Karly Liska, Reporter

Sometimes a teacher leaves a lasting impression on a student. This teacher for me was Melissa Lemke-Elznic who is laid back, easy to relate to, and has tattoos. After being in class with her for several weeks, I decided I wanted to know more about her.

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Melissa Lemke-Elznic was born and raised in Osmond, NE.  She never left the area because family is very important to her and she wanted her kids to grow up around their grandparents.  In high school, she took speech and band because those were her two favorite things to do.

In the Lemke family, Wayne State is the college of choice. Lemke-Elznic’s initial intension was to become a high school teacher but made a last minute decision to get her Master’s Degree and teach at the college level.  She was a graduate assistant at Wayne State and worked there and at Northeast Community College part-time for six years after she graduated.  She has worked at Northeast full-time for 10 years.  She is a speech instructor and the Multicultural Club Advisor.

Lemke-Elznic taught and coached forensics, which is basically just another word for speech team.  She says the part she misses the most is being around people who are so exceptionally smart.  “They [students] are the best and the brightest at each one of those institutions,” she told me.  Lemke-Elznic said she also misses the level of conversation and energy surrounding forensics. For more of Lemke-Elznic’s thoughts on coaching forensics, click this SoundCloud link.

Lemke-Elznic had a couple acknowledgements during the course of her coaching but to her it’s not about what the coaches do, it’s about what the students are doing.  “My job was to keep them motivated and going the right direction and to drive the van,” she said. “The production of their speeches, what is really an art, was their doing. I just provided the guidance.”  She says that to be a good teacher, you have to be able to connect and relate to the students.

She has said that her hobbies are anything her kids are doing, whether that is doing a 5K, getting ready for a Zombie Walk, or traveling. Recently, she has gotten into junking, which is the search for vintage items.  She admits to kind of being obsessed with it and she does it with her sister because it allows them another way to connect.

Lemke-Elznic considers tattoos a form of expression and she has four tattoos, each one representing something very specific.  She says her husband Jason, who also works at Northeast, would say the same thing. She would not allow her kids to get tattoos before they are 18 but after their 18th birthdays, they have the choice.  Her daughter Breanna recently turned 18 and she and her mom are going to get matching tattoos of something bee related, because her daughter loves all things bees.  Lemke-Elznic and her son Connor are planning on getting matching tattoos too but have not decided on what to get.  Lemke-Elznic said getting the tattoos is another way to connect with her kids.

The three things that are on top of Lemke-Elznic’s bucket list are to travel out of the country, pursue something within the criminal justice field, and go to a Pearl Jam concert.