Michigan's College Access Blog

College Changes Everything: Marcia Molett

This video blog is the third of eight installments in a series that profiles college access professionals. During the selected interviews, participants explain how college proved to be a “game changer” in their lives. Interviews will appear on MCAN's blog every Tuesday, June 14 through August 2.  

 

Name
Marcia Molett

College Attended
Eastern Michigan University

Degree Earned
Speech-Language Pathology, B.S.

Current job title and name of employer
College Adviser, Michigan College Access Network’s AdviseMI program

Year of college graduation
2014

Who, if anyone, encouraged you most to attend college?
My father played a significant role in me wanting to attend college. At a young age, he instilled in me the importance of education, hard work, leadership, and of course, what it means to follow my dreams. I will always remember him saying, “The one thing that cannot be taken away from you is your education. Learn as much as you can.” This statement resonated with me for years and acted as a catalyst for me to get to college. 

What surprised you most about college?
For the first time, I would get the opportunity to interact and learn with many people from all different walks of life. My learning would extend beyond the classroom and into communities through service and fellowship. Most importantly, college unveiled who I was as a person, the person that I had been masking for so long. It ignited change in areas of my life that I didn’t realize needed to be fixed. 

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome while attending college?
The biggest obstacle I had to face in college was getting out of my own way. Because of my high school experience, there were times that I was extremely hard on myself. I needed to make all A’s. I needed to make a good impression in all of my classes. I needed to excel in everything because I am a first-generation college student, and would be the first on my maternal side to receive a bachelor’s degree. This attitude hindered me socially and soon I experienced a heavy amount of sadness.  Eventually, I made it a priority to excel academically and also engage in student activities. I joined organizations and programs that provided the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and participate in activities that would change my life forever. 

Where do you think you'd be/what might you be doing if you hadn't attended college?
Honestly, I do not know where I would be if I hadn’t attended college. The person that I was before I entered EMU in 2009 is completely different than my current self. And, I am completely unsure of what that journey with old Marcia may have looked like. I can only hope that I would have taken advantage of all opportunities afforded to me that would allow me to become a better person. 

Feel free to expand on your video response to tell us more about how/why college was a “game changer” for you
I am a first-generation college student. Statistically, I am disproportionately overrepresented among most disadvantaged groups and more likely to delay college entry or drop out of college. I told myself while in high school that I refused to let my race, gender, environment, or socioeconomic status prevent me from striving for greatness. College has been a game changer because it has shown me just how great I am. It has given me the knowledge, confidence, and leadership skills that I need to navigate any space in which I am present.

Posted: June 28, 2016

Increasing College Success for Student Veterans: A Veteran Resource Representative’s Perspective

When I was approached by MCAN to write about my role as a Veteran Resource Representative (VRR), I thought about how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to work with veterans every day.  I have been working as a VRR with the Michigan Veteran Education Initiative for eighteen months.  My time has been spent assisting student veterans at Ferris State University.  I also serve in the Michigan Army National Guard as an Infantry Squad Leader. 

Veteran Resource Representatives are full time employees who work on college campuses who help student veterans navigate the higher education and financial aid process.  Before becoming a VRR, I worked for the State of Michigan as a Corrections Officer.  I worked for the Department of Corrections for about one year when I realized that it was not the career I wanted for myself.  During this time, I also held a duty position in the National Guard as a Unit Career Counselor.  There, I became an expert on military benefits and specifically assisted younger soldiers with their education benefits.  I did not receive a lot of help when I utilized my education benefits.  This, coupled with my desire for a change in career, led me to the position with the Michigan Veteran Education Initiative. 

I was greeted with tons of support for veterans when I arrived at Ferris State.  My official role is to assist veterans with the transition from the military to college.  A typical day may consist of helping a student veteran with their GI Bill in the morning and assisting another student veteran with daycare options in the afternoon.  On some occasions, I have fellow Army National Guard members come to my office because they may not know what benefits they can use.  I truly enjoy seeing the relief on a veterans face as I explain their earned benefits.  This reason alone makes the job the most rewarding one I have ever had.  

I spend much of my time reaching out and collaborating with community partners such as Veteran Service Officers, Department of Health and Human Services, Mid-Michigan Community Action Agency, and even food pantries.  Recently, I have been working with the West Michigan Veterans Coalition, or the Region 4 VCAT, to bring the next quarterly meeting to Ferris State.  In the past, the meetings have been held in Grand Rapids, or even farther south in the region, making it difficult for the northern veteran service providers to attend.  I am also working with a VA healthcare team and the health center on campus to bring VA mental health providers, physicians, and their support staff to the university at least once per month.  This will allow student veterans to take care of routine appointments on campus, rather than driving to miles away for these services. 

As a VRR, I am able to speak with a different veteran on an almost daily basis.  Every situation is slightly different, which allows me to connect veterans with resources across the entire state.  Working as a VRR at Ferris State has not only improved the services for students on campus, but also for soldiers in my National Guard unit and veterans that I meet off campus. I am proud to be a part of this great program that plays a small role in ensuring educational success for our veterans. 

Guest Author: Jacob Schrot, Michigan Veteran Education Initiative, Ferris State University

Posted: June 22, 2016

College Changes Everything: Adam Bayne

This video blog is the second of eight installments in a series that profiles college access professionals. During the selected interviews, participants explain how college proved to be a “game changer” in their lives. Interviews will appear on MCAN's blog every Tuesday, June 14 through August 2.  


Name
Adam Bayne

Colleges Attended
Central Michigan University, Michigan State University 

Degrees Earned
Education (B.S., CMU), Educational Leadership (M.A., MSU)

Current Job Title/Employer
Secondary Principal, Holton Public Schools

Year of College Graduation 
CMU 2004, MSU 2008

Who, if anyone, encouraged you most to attend college?
My parents and teachers 

What surprised you most about college?
The quantity of opportunity was amazing! 

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome while attending college? 
Learning to navigate life as an individual 

Where do you think you'd be/what might you be doing if you hadn't attended college? 
Working in a factory 

Feel free to expand on your video response to tell us more about how/why college was a “game changer” for you. 
College provided me opportunities to expand my experiences and increase understanding of people. While I greatly appreciate the academic training I received in my college experience, the other involvements I had in campus life and student programming really provided me with skills I apply every day. College gave me amazing friends and memories. More than this, through my involvement at the Volunteer Center at CMU, I found a purpose and I'm blessed to live this purpose - my passion - everyday. 

College Changes Everything: Caleb Boswell

This blog is the first of eight installments in a series that profiles college access professionals. During the one-minute interviews, participants explain how college proved to be a “game changer” in their lives. Selected interviews will appear on MCAN's blog every Tuesday, beginning June 14. 

 

Name
Caleb Boswell 

Colleges Attended
Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University 

Degrees Earned
Psychology, Interpersonal & Public Communications (B.S. for both CMU), College Counseling (M.A. EMU) 

Current Job Title/Employer
Director of High School Success, United Way for Southeastern Michigan

Year of College Graduation
CMU 2005, EMU 2014

Who, if anyone, encouraged you most to attend college?
I was raised by my great-grandmother and she instilled in me at an early age the importance of education. I was always encouraged and expected to do well in school. Though I am a first-generation student, going to college was always an expectation and not an option. I can honestly say there was never a time that I did not think about attending college!

What surprised you most about college?
College is a time of personal growth and exposure. I found it disheartening that in a place of higher education, some individuals would choose to remain ignorant, especially around issues that dealt with diversity and multiculturalism. 

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome while attending college?
As a student in high school I did not have to work very hard, yet I was an honor student. I would do my homework, papers/assignments, and participate in class. I quickly realized that I would have to put in much more effort to be successful in college. I also had to learn how to study and in the end realized I did my best when I utilized study groups.

Where do you think you'd be/what might you be doing if you hadn't attended college?
I honestly do not know? As previously stated, attending college was always a requirement, and not an optional choice! My college experience has become such a huge part of my life. Many of my closest friends, unique experiences, and opportunities were afforded to me due to my collegiate experience.

Feel free to expand on your video response to tell us more about how/why college was a “game changer” for you.
Obtaining my degree was always top priority, but what I also looked forward to was growing into my own person. This is one of the reasons why I chose CMU. I had to stay in-state, but there was enough distance that truly forced me to be more independent. Coming from Detroit to Mt. Pleasant was a bit of a culture shock. I took a great interest in programming and events that promoted diversity to the entire campus, as well as those that uplifted the collegiate experience specifically for students of color. The organizations and programs that I participated in allowed me to develop my talents and gain new skills that I am able to utilize, both professionally and personally.  The growth I had from my freshman year to graduation has helped shape the man I am today.

 

Posted: June 14, 2016

 

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