Michigan's College Access Blog

College Changes Everything: Cari Bushinski

This video blog is the fifth 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
Cari Bushinski

Colleges Attended
Western Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University

Degrees Earned
Elementary Education (B.A) , Educational Administration and Leadership (M.A)

Current Job Title/Employer
Director of Instruction, Northwest Community Schools

Year of College Graduation
Western Michigan University 1990, Eastern Michigan University 2006

Who, if anyone, encouraged you most to attend college? 
My best friend's family

What surprised you most about college?
The multitude of choices

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome while attending college?
Homesickness 

Where do you think you'd be/what might you be doing if you hadn't attended college?
Waitressing

Feel free to expand on your video response to tell us more about how/why college was a “game changer” for you. 
College was a game changer for me in many ways.  I have grown tremendously intellectually, socially, emotionally, and creatively because of my collegiate experiences and opportunities that have resulted in having a college degree.

 

Posted: July 12, 2016

College Changes Everything: Jonathan Lockwood

This video blog is the fourth 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
Jonathan Isiah Lockwood

Colleges Attended
Alpena Community College (2011-12), Saginaw Valley State University (2012-15)

Degree Earned
Bachelor of Arts in History and Minor in English

Current Job Title/Employer
College Adviser, Michigan College Access Network’s AdviseMI program

Year of College Graduation
Saginaw Valley State University, 2015

Who, if anyone, encouraged you most to attend college?
My father. He always told me I was going to go to college because he was first generation in his family and it changed his life.

What surprised you most about college?
The people! I met people from all over the United States and the world. I never imagined I would have met my best friends in college, but I did. 

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome while attending college?
Passing math classes! I was terrible at mathematics, so I had to spend a lot of time in the tutoring center. That was a hurdle because I thought everyone was going to judge me for going there and not being smart enough to just pass the class. However, everyone at the tutoring center was really great and the majority of students being tutored were fellow classmates who I thought would never need tutoring. 

Where do you think you'd be/what might you be doing if you hadn't attended college?
I would most likely have joined the service. Or be working in Alpena with my old summer job doing roofing.

Feel free to expand on your video response to tell us more about how/why college was a “game changer” for you.
College was a game changer because it allowed me to find my passions and explore them, both in and out of the classroom. I found subjects I was passionate about in my major and outside the classroom I found things I was passionate about like volunteering. I learned that volunteering was the most rewarding thing someone can do with their time. It helped me to become a more aware and involved citizen in my local community. 

Posted: July 5, 2016

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

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