Scholarships Provide Opportunity

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Jessica Friend

Greater Muskegon Optimist Club Scholarship

By Rebecca Goodno ‘16
MCC Communications Intern

With a passion to help others, Jessica Friend, a sophomore at MCC, is pursuing a career in Occupational Therapy (OT).

“A lot of people I would be involved with in OT have had accidents or are elder and no longer have the abilities that they used to have,” said Jessica, the recipient of the Greater Muskegon Optimist Club Scholarship. “It is just a natural inclination to help people who are less fortunate. There is nothing that I could find more fulfilling.”

Jessica has found a way to combine her desire to help others with her love for running long distances.

A middle and high school cross country runner at Whitehall, she has competed in numerous community races throughout the years. Throughout high school, Jessica and her mother ran the 25 kilometer 5/3 Riverbank Run in Grand Rapids while pushing two students in wheelchairs.

“It was just a really amazing experience because at the end they were so excited,” explained Jessica, who once had one of the students tell her, “Next year I’m going to do this, I am going to run it!”

“I thought that was really cool because she had been going to physical therapy and occupational therapy to learn how to walk better. Hearing her say that, I thought ‘Wow, that’s cool. That is something I want to be a part of.’ That was definitely a big eye opener.”

Optimism plays an important role in Jessica’s life, too.

“One thing that helps me is optimistic thinking – telling myself I will be able to get into this occupational therapy program, that I will be able to do all these things,” said Jessica, admitting the importance to her of “just having that underlying drive and being able to believe in yourself and believe there is a plan and that you can achieve it.”

In addition to her positive attitude, Jessica is thankful for her scholarship. She currently takes 18 credits this semester at MCC and works three days a week. She plans to transfer to Wayne State University next fall.

“It helps the stress level go down a lot,” Jessica said about receiving the scholarship. She hopes in the future to similarly support students. “I think education is the best way to create a society and supporting the youth will help with that.”



Brian Yonkman

Larry and Roberta Tetzlaff Scholarship

By Rebecca Goodno ‘16
MCC Communications Intern

Intrigued with psychology since he took a course at Reeths-Puffer High School, Brian Yonkman, now an MCC freshman, hopes to study pre-med at Hope College and attend the University of Michigan for graduate school.

“I have seen people who have struggled,” said Brian, who has a firsthand connection to learning more about the subject. “A person very close to me struggles with chronic depression and tried many things including a number of drugs. Another person had schizophrenia and drinking problems. They helped me kind of figure out what I wanted to get into as far as helping people.”

While Brian, a dual-enrolled student at MCC his junior and senior year, has taken several courses at MCC preparing him for his chosen career, his favorite has been Abnormal Psychology.

“It was a pretty demanding course, but very worth it,” he explained. “It really prompted some of the best papers I have ever written and really prepared me for some of the material I may face in graduate school.”

As a member of National Honor Society at Reeths-Puffer, Brian volunteered his time tutoring middle school students.

“The kids were struggling a lot and couldn’t keep up with school, then they had problems at home and poor interactions with other students,” he explained. “It was a good role for me – someone who gets to talk to these students, weigh out their problems and maybe help them through some of them. I have always found myself a good listener. I try to give the best perspective that I can. That is one of the biggest things that makes me want to become a psychiatrist.”

Brian admits that receiving the $1,500 Larry and Roberta Tetzlaff Scholarship, given to MCC student who plans to pursue a baccalaureate degree in a science, technology, engineering or math field at an accredited college, will help him attain that goal.

“Every cent that you put forth to these scholarships makes a great difference for people that need to get through school and especially if they know what they want to get into and not just taking classes” said Brian, thankful to the Tetzlaffs for their generosity. “I know what I want to be and I know what kind of classes I need to put towards that.”

“It’s nice to know that regardless of whatever situation you are in, you can cover X amount of classes and get through the semester. It is a lot of security knowing that you have that support.”