Two MCC Students from Ottawa County to Deliver 2022 Commencement Remarks

Two Muskegon Community College students from Ottawa County, Alexis Scott of Holland and Alexis Tater of Grand Haven, will deliver videotaped remarks on behalf of the Class of 2022 which will celebrate its Commencement on May 4 with an interactive drive-through event on campus.

The students’ comments will be incorporated into a commemorative video capturing all the festivities and alumni award recipient speeches, as well as each graduate walking across stage to receive a diploma. The student speakers, whose bios appear below, were selected by the MCC Commencement Committee.

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Alexis Scott ‘22

For Lexi Scott, the circuitous road to discovering her passion for nursing serves as a powerful testament to her perseverance.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Scott has lived in Holland, MI, since 1994. She graduated in 2002 from Black River High School, where she was a member of the softball, volleyball, and first-ever equestrian teams. She attended Grand Valley State University, worked two jobs, and pursued psychology, sociology, and special education.

Alexis Scott

“I couldn’t really land on what I wanted to do, and I ended up failing out,” she admitted. “I wasn’t super motivated. Then I went to Aquinas College to study youth ministries. I wanted to help kids who were diverse. Shortly before attending the Catholic college, I met my now wife, Chelsea, and I came out.”

Admittedly “burned out” from school after six years, Scott left Aquinas and went to work in a series of jobs at a travel agency, Starbucks, a deli, a manufacturing company, and as a bartender. She even started her own catering business. In 2013, her life changed with her decision to earn a Certified Nursing Associate (CNA) at Careerline M-Tec in Holland.

“I scored close to 100 percent which is something I had never done in my entire life,” she said. “I was passionate. It was interesting and the first time I remember feeling that I was capable of learning in my whole life.”

After six years as nurse tech in medical, surgical, and pediatric units at Holland Hospital, Scott wanted to become a registered nurse. All her research pointed to MCC’s program as being the best, even if meant being waitlisted. In 2019, just as she was admitted to the program, Scott was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She worked with the MCC Disability Services Office on a therapeutic and medication regimen. The staff also helped her get a financial grant. Still employed at Holland Hospital, she also qualified for a Futures for Frontliners grant. The two sources paid for her nursing education at MCC.

“The MCC nursing program has been a formative and life changing experience – personally, professionally and scholastically,” said Scott, who as president of the MCC Student Nursing Club has overseen a four-fold growth in membership. She was also nominated by her peers and received MCC’s LPN Achievement Award. “I came in very unconfident in my abilities and myself, and in my ability to learn. But all I had to do was show up, ask, and communicate. My advice is to get to know your instructors. It can seem intimidating, especially when things are virtual and you don’t have a lot of direct contact, but they’re amazing. I have not had a single experience with an instructor or teacher that was negative.”

Scott, who will become a first-time parent in June, cited her instructors Amy Herrington, Rebecca Sytsema and Beth Kroll as having “a profound impact on my life.” In January, Scott was asked to speak about inclusion to the MCC faculty.

“I was able to give back to some of the instructors who had taught and given so much to me,” she concluded. “As a Commencement speaker, this is an opportunity for me to share a part of my journey and to express my gratitude towards everybody who has participated in my profound growth experience.”

Alexis Tater ‘22

Lexi Tater, who will be completing the Early College of Ottawa County program in May, has plans to make a difference in the world.

Alexis Tater

“I definitely want to go into the Peace Corps when I get done with my bachelor’s degree,” said the Grand Haven resident, who will be attending Aquinas College this fall. “I hope to study abroad in Argentina my last semester at Aquinas. Then after that, I hope to go to Guatemala or somewhere so that I can teach English to kids who do not otherwise have the resources to learn it.”

She’s no stranger to being abroad, having lived in England and travelled extensively as a youngster when her father, Paul, worked in Europe as a global safety manager. “My family sees value in learning firsthand through our travels,” she added.

At Grand Haven High School, Tater played soccer, tennis and rugby. A high honors student there, she has earned academic and athletic scholarships to continue her studies at Aquinas, where she will major in environmental science and Spanish and compete on the rugby squad.

“I really love Spanish,” said Tater, who currently combines her two academic interests at her internship with Hortech, Inc.  a wholesale plant nursery in Nunica. “Many of the workers there speak Spanish, so I am practicing regularly. I just realize that’s what I wanted to do. And I am going to learn a lot this summer about the biology behind the plants with over 100 greenhouses there.”

Tater credits her Early College participation with opening her eyes to possibilities.

“The biggest thing I took from the Early College program was being able to experiment with different types of classes, because I had no idea of what I wanted to do,” explained Tater, whose mother, Susan, is an Early College advisor. “The decision to join Early College was all mine. That really helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my life and gave me a lot of independence.”

Attending MCC was, at times, stressful for Tater, who was thankful for those instructors whose commitment and caring provided a lifeline when needed most.

“My favorite professor ever was Christopher VanOosterhout, who taught personal finance,” she admitted. “He was just so kind. When I was struggling with something, he would send me an email to try and explain. Then he followed up and ask, ‘Can I Zoom you? Can I talk to you?’ At least, once a week, I would Zoom him. When I couldn’t find one, he became my tutor.”

Tater plans to use her experience with VanOosterhout in her remarks to the Class of 2022.

“I want to talk about mental health and that it is OK to ask for help,” she concluded.  “I had a tough up-and-down year. It’s been emotionally intense. I struggled with anxiety and depression. For a long time, I didn’t ever express that I was needing help. I am a very independent person, so I don’t ask for help. It’s a pride thing. Now, I think I have learned that asking for help is okay.”