Paige's Student Success Story

Introduction of Paige from 2024 'You DRIVE our Growing Legacy' (note: an exciting update as of 12/23 from Paige is below!)

PaigePaige came to MCCC in 2021 as part of the State of Michigan’s Reconnect tuition assistance program, having overcome many personal difficulties after graduating from high school in 2014. Scholarships helped cover some of the costs of fees, books and supplies. Unfortunately, last year, in her final year of studies, despite working three jobs, including assisting other students in the college’s Writing Center, she found herself homeless and living in her car. When she shared her situation with Lori Jo Couch, professor of English, Lori Jo reached out to Kris Gerlach, disability services coordinator, who convened the Emergency Support team to identify appropriate Project Persist resources. Paige was connected with several on-campus and community resources that allowed her to continue with her studies.

She not only landed on her feet, but was center stage during Commencement Ceremonies in May, graduating cum laude with both Honors and Global Studies designations. Today, she is attending the University of Michigan and pursuing her dreams. “The support I received at MCCC changed me. I am excited for the future, and with the confidence I gained, I not only want to make a difference in the world, I know I will.”

Reflections from Lori Jo Couch: 

Students are nominated to become writing fellows, or student tutors, when they exhibit above average writing skills and good study habits in their courses. Paige was recommended for the program after taking a Comp. I class. I interviewed Paige and accepted her into the writing fellow program.  Paige at Writing Center

She was reluctant at first and lacked confidence in her ability.  With my strong encouragement, Paige entered my Advanced Composition class. As Paige built relationships with faculty and peers, her confidence blossomed, and she began to see her leadership potential. She experienced significant growth in her writing skills, and she became an integral part of the program. She was the first to volunteer to tutor, attend conferences, and assist with special events. She was compassionate to students who came in for tutoring because she understood the obstacles they were experiencing, and she encouraged them to use the resources (tutoring, counseling, financial aid) that would make a tremendous difference in their educational journeys. Paige received a writing fellow scholarship that helped her with tuition and books. This financial benefit enabled Paige to remain in college at MCCC, despite significant hardships. The emotional and academic assistance provided by faculty, counselors, and staff,  transformed her into a lifelong learner. We are proud to have been a part of her journey and can't wait to see what her future holds!

UPDATE 12/23 from Paige: 

I found myself accepted into a living-learning community called the Global Scholars Program at the University of Michigan this Fall. First-year GSP students are required to live in a dorm, and our cohort this year consists of over 100 members! As GSP members, we are required to attend lectures with a curriculum focused on defining and finding solutions to critical global issues, as well as required attendance to intercultural dialogues to communicate about important topics regarding race, culture, socioeconomic status, etc. First-year GSP members also participate in an online internship with global NGOs. My collaborative group is working with High Atlas Foundation, a Moroccan-based US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, with our current focus being on earthquake relief surrounding the Sept. 8th earthquake that occurred in the Atlas Mountains. I am actually waiting to hear back about a leadership position within the program as well as a Peer Facilitator, and will hopefully be involved in creating these spaces of safe and effective communication.

I have also found myself having a job in research through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, or UROP for short. I am working as a Research Assistant with a team of professors, doctors, and researchers doing a scoping analysis of literature to find correlations between extreme climate exposures and adverse birth outcomes.

I still have yet to get established and get involved in extracurriculars, but I am very interested in the Anthropology club and a few of the acapella/glee clubs on campus as well and hope to find myself more involved on campus going into the next semester.

Overall, I am still getting myself established course-wise, but it is looking like the path I am choosing to take continues as such. The only difference is I am adding a second minor as well through PitE, the Program in the Environment, in Environmental Studies.

Paige (left) is pictured Runa Ray, a fashion environmentalist. She worked with GSP on her Peace Flags Project, where my patch of art will be displayed with my fellow peers at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2024.