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Cheryl Ochodnicky is teaching and rocking

“Do more of what you love!” announces Cheryl Ochodnicky, an adjunct professor at Cleary who has two great passions: teaching online classes for Cleary and traveling the country in search of unique rocks she can sell at her small shop in the UP, where she lives.

In 2018, she reopened the Copper Harbor rock shop originally owned by her grandparents. The building sat abandoned for 12 years until her love for minerals, rocks and Copper Harbor drew her to restarting the family business.

Even though her background is “accounting, not rocks,” Ochodnicky couldn’t choose one over the other, so she moved to the UP year round and switched to online teaching. 

Previously, she lived in the corporate world of accounting for dozens of years while raising her daughter in Brighton. In 2017, she obtained her master’s degree from Michigan State University. “This gave me the courage to step out of the corporate environment and transition to teaching at Cleary,” she says. “The corporate world served me well for many years, but I was looking for a change in my life. I needed work/life balance, I wanted to share my years of accounting knowledge and experience, and I also loved exploring the country for rocks and going to rock shows.”

She found it all! Ochodnicky operates her seasonal shop in Copper Harbor from May to October, she teaches a few accounting classes at Cleary in between, and she serves as Deputy Clerk for the township where she lives. This schedule also allows her time to travel out west where she hikes, bird watches and hunts for rocks.

“I am fortunate to do everything that I love!” she is happy to say.

Ochodnicky has been an adjunct professor at Cleary for six years. She first started teaching on campus classes until she decided to make Copper Harbor her year-round home. That’s when she transitioned to online instruction.

“Online classes can be challenging, but if students get stuck, they can shoot me a text and I can reply in a moment. This way, they are not spinning their wheels in frustration,” she explains.

Ochodnicky had an opportunity to teach for another university, but she finds Cleary the right fit for her. “Everyone is so organized, the staff always is available to help others, I enjoy the diverse student population, I like the small class sizes, and I especially like the strong relationships I can develop with my students.

“I wish I had gone to a school like Cleary,” she adds. “The students who graduate will do amazing things!”

She is quick to add, “accounting rocks! It is so much fun! Don’t be afraid to take an accounting class. Accounting affects every part of our lives; it is the language of business.”