Students of MI: Alexis

Alexis WMU

“When I moved to Kalamazoo to be closer to my foster parents who are WMU alumni, I really felt like the world was open for me.

I transferred in 2014, and when I came to Western, I was an accounting major because for me that was the best career for stability. I grew up in the foster care system, so I wanted a career where I felt like I will always be needed. When I got to Western, I took entrepreneurship with the honors college, and two weeks later I changed my major. It’s so funny—changing from accounting all the way to entrepreneurship, something known for its stability to complete risk.

My professor was phenomenal – he challenged me and questioned me. He made me think about the world around us in ways I hadn’t before – this really pushed me. After that semester, I joined Starting Gate with Western where I started my own business, The Scholarship Expert. Everything just snowballed into different opportunities.

I’m also interested in international development. I’ve studied abroad six times and will study abroad twice again next summer. To me, they all mesh together well because in order for you to be successful in international development, you need to think outside of the box, which draws from entrepreneurship. This summer I’m actually creating my own study abroad program with three other students at Western in the first student-led study abroad program.

My senior year of high school, I applied for everything, literally everything I could possibly find. I googled key words, I went to the advising office every day to see if there were new scholarships. I worked with several teachers and anybody that I could possibly see to help me get my applications together to make sure that I was prepared. I never imagined that I would have had almost all of my college and study abroad programs paid for. I’m going to graduate with less than $20,000 in debt with two degrees, a certification, a minor, and eight study abroad experiences, which is phenomenal.

The best advice that I could have for incoming freshmen is to find a mentor as soon as possible. You will probably have different mentors in different seasons of your life depending on whether you’re in college, you’ve graduated or you’re in your career. I probably have between four and eight mentors that I can go to for anything – for my letter of recommendation or for general life advice. These are people that you can lean on. And I guess that’s a benefit of growing up in foster care because I’ve learned to be extremely resourceful and I don’t think I would have that otherwise.”

(Alexis, Entrepreneurship and Global & International Studies, Western Michigan University)



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