Leah Kelly

LeahKellyAttending Ferris State University has become a tradition in my family. My father attended Ferris from 1983-1986 and was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame for baseball in 2007. I started to attend Ferris during my junior year in the fall of 2010. My brother also began his freshman year that fall at Ferris. I transferred from Lansing Community College (LCC) and North Central Michigan College (NCMC). Ferris was the first school I had ever returned to because of the valuable experiences and knowledge I gained during my junior year and the assistance and mentoring I received from my professors. Ferris helped me mature and grow and allowed me to excel academically, prepare for my future goals, and pursue things I am passionate about.

Academically, all of my hard work and efforts paid off during my senior year of college as I graduated at the top of my class with a 3.95 GPA, got a bachelor’s degree with minimal loan debt, received an “Outstanding Peer Mentor Award,” an “Outstanding Psychology Student of the Year Award,” and an “Outstanding Scholar Award.” I was also accepted into the master’s program for counseling at Western Michigan University, and within months of graduating, I was hired full-time as a counselor for adolescents.

The professors I had at Ferris were some of the best I have ever had. I will never forget Dr. Jim Van Treese, Dr. Lindsay Root Luna, Dr. Janice Weaver, and Dr. Christopher Redker. These professors were extremely helpful when I was trying to consider what I should do after Ferris. Collectively they spent hours helping me prepare for the long and complicated application process for graduate school. I will be forever grateful for their advice and assistance because I would have been clueless without them.

I experienced some interesting things while at Ferris. My first semester, I trained a rat in my Behavior Modification class. I couldn’t believe it. I trained rats that I named Sophia and Charles to press a lever. My classmates nicknamed me “the rat whisperer” as I was able to positively impact even the most stubborn rats. During the fall semester of my senior year, I also trained two pigeons that I named Bert and Ernie. I loved naming the animals I got to train. I thought it enhanced the experience and helped in training them. I was able to train Bert and Ernie easily as they excelled in their tasks, too.

Ferris allowed me to become involved in things that I was passionate about as well. While at Ferris, I was able to help others in different ways. For two years, I was a lunch buddy and mentor to fourth graders at Brookside Elementary School in Big Rapids. I was assigned one student, but quickly learned I was a buddy to their friends as well. Being a lunch buddy was very rewarding because they were always smiling and happy when I was around. I was also a Peer Mentor for the Honors Program. I was actively involved in the campus community by volunteering for Relay for Life, the Big Event, the Rake and Run, and other events. In two years at Ferris, I completed 135.5 hours of community service. I was also the Vice President of FSU’s Honors Programming Board and Vice President of FSU’s Student Psychology Association. All of these leadership positions have helped me in my career when supporting and encouraging others.

The experiences I gained both inside and outside the classroom helped mold me into the person I am today. While at Ferris, my professors helped me achieve my academic goals, my lab subjects allowed me to develop confidence in the practical application of psychology, and my lunch buddies and volunteer projects blessed me with a gift of giving. Through these experiences at Ferris, I was able to create my own tradition of excellence and leave a legacy for my children as was done for me. I will be forever proud to call myself a Bulldog.