Monthly Archive for March, 2017

Alumni Success Story – Andrew Cranmer ’15

Many of the details about Andrew Cranmer’s job at the Space and Naval Warfare Command System Center Atlantic Branch are classified, but his general role is scientist. He mainly works on projects relating to machine learning, computer vision and biometrics, similar to his courses of study at DU. Read more about Andrew’s journey to the Department of Defense below.

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Drew is from Belding, Michigan and chose Davenport University initially because of its location close to home. While a student, he worked as an RA for two years and played rugby for three. He is currently completing his last semester of master’s coursework at Southern Methodist University while working in Charleston, South Carolina for the Department of Defense.

Many of the details about Drew’s job at the Space and Naval Warfare Command System Center (SPAWAR) Atlantic Branch are classified, but his general role is scientist. He mainly works on projects relating to machine learning, computer vision and biometrics, similar to his courses of study at DU. “Basically, if a project comes up that needs a computer scientist who has skills in these areas, I can be pulled into the project,” he says. “I can do anything. Programming, research & development… I like to figure out better ways to do things.”

He says his concentration on biometrics at DU set him apart from the crowd and helped lead to his current line of work, but he did not always know this would be his path. “Growing up, I had absolutely no idea what I would do until I got to Davenport,” he says. “As I got further into my program, I really started to enjoy it. Then I started questioning what I could do with the degree and found a mentor in Denny Bobeldyk.”

Drew credits Denny’s investment of time in him as the main reason he continued and succeeded in computer science. Denny also encouraged Drew to apply for what would become a life-changing scholarship with the Department of Defense (DoD). Initially, Drew didn’t think he had a chance at winning and felt daunted by the long application process. With Denny’s help though, he grew his confidence and wrote about his studies in biometrics because he knew that DU is one of only a handful of schools in the nation that offer the program. He was accepted into DoD Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP).

Now, he says, “I would tell students to not let fear keep them from doing things. Apply for everything. This opportunity shaped my whole career.” Though he is proud of receiving the DoD IASP scholarship while at DU, it was also scary to accept because the opportunity meant that he would work for the DoD- and he could be sent anywhere in the world where the DoD has employees.

He feels fortunate to be stationed in Charleston, where he is experiencing warmer winters and a new culture, but it was scary at first. “Coming from Belding, Michigan, I hadn’t really ever been away from home,” he says. “It was nerve wracking to pick up and move 1,000 miles away all by myself.”

Drew enjoys the tangible, hands-on work he does because he sees results. His ultimate goal, though, is to become a CIO or CTO by spending the time to learn the technical aspects of the computer world and later move into the leadership and management roles. He enjoys working with people and models his work ethic after his grandfather, a small business owner in central Michigan who also served as a father figure. He also credits his wife, Becky, with significant influence in his life, “She encourages me, pushes me, and makes me want to be successful.”

Alumni Success Story – April Braman ’14

As a Case Manager at the University of Michigan, April Braman, CCM ‘14 manages short and long term disability cases for their employees, assists them with ADA accommodations, return to work concerns, and FMLA clarification. She says her experience at Davenport empowered her. “It allowed me to believe in myself and it has given me the opportunity to show my children that you can achieve whatever you set your heart and mind to accomplish.” Learn more about April and her journey below.

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Tell us about yourself!

My name is April Braman, I live in Hartland, Michigan. I am a 41 year old single mother of a 10 year old daughter and an 8 year old son, who are my heart, soul, and driving force behind everything that I do.

Why did you pick Davenport?

Davenport is the only accredited university to offer the Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Case Management, which is the career path I’ve slowly been working toward for the past decade. When I enrolled to in the program, I was living out of state and the portability of online classes was exactly what I needed. When I learned that the instructors are all experienced professionals with real world experience, it made sense because their answers and advice all came from that point of view

As a graduate of DU, when you think of your experience what comes to mind?

I love Davenport! The support the faculty and staff offered and the setup of their programs was exactly what I was looking for.  I am actually enrolled again as a graduate student earning my MBA with healthcare concentration.  My experience over the years has made me feel empowered, it allows me to believe in myself, and it has given me the opportunity to show my children that you can achieve whatever you set your heart and mind to accomplish.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

I am a case manager with the University of Michigan. We manage the short and long-term disability cases for our own employees, assist them with ADA accommodations, return to work concerns, and FMLA clarification.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

My biggest accomplishment is two-fold.  The first is passing the Certified Case Manager exam in December 2016, and the second was forging a partnership through U of M to accept our first Davenport medical case management practicum student this semester (Winter 2017).

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to work from home as an active medical case manager, while also becoming a professor for future medical case management students.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I ever received is to be your own biggest cheerleader.  Whenever you are faced with a difficult decision or circumstance, think of the best advice you would give to your child or another loved one, and say it to yourself.

Are you are you passionate about?

I am passionate about being a great example for my children, and loving that I am able to watch two wonderful people grow and change throughout the years into the thoughtful adults they are both destined to become.

What do you do when you are not working?

When I am not working I am usually doing something with my children.  Now that I am enrolled in a graduate program at Davenport, my evenings are also spent working in my classes.  When I get some time to myself, I decompress by spending time with my friends, because laughter really is the best way to unwind.

Following Grandpa’s Footsteps – Roger Luurtsema & Allison Luurtsema #TBT Story

“I chose Davenport because I wanted instruction that was practical and directly applicable to my career,” Roger Luurtsema explained.  Now, nearly 65 years later, his granddaughter Allison Luurtsema is following in his footsteps; eager to learn and grow at Davenport.

Roger was born to Peter and Lillian Luurtsema in their Grand Rapids home in 1932 and graduated from Ottawa Hills High School. He knew he wanted to go into sales because he had uncles he admired who were salesmen and because he had “the gift of gab” and a sense of humor.

He enrolled at Davenport after high school in 1950 and still recalls that many of his instructors left a lasting impression.  Like instructor Andy Anderson, who tricked a shy boy into overcoming his fear of public speaking in the Dale Carnegie class or the commercial law instructor who was a lawyer and also an artist and illustrated principles of law with cartoon style drawings.

“Our class was very close and had a lot of comradery. We were on the second floor of the Fulton and N. Division street building. The first floor had retail stores and a restaurant where we often socialized over coffee and donuts,” Luurtsema reflected.

He appreciated that his classes were always led by people who were successful in their professional fields.  Roger remembered Robert Sneden as a good teacher who was professional, sophisticated and businesslike and added that, “we were all in awe of Mr. Davenport.”

“I am happy with my choice of attending Davenport,” said Roger. “Throughout my forty-five year career in sales, the fundamental principals were the thing that carried me through and that show the quality of the training.”

Roger earned his diploma for completing his salesmanship course from the Davenport-McLachlan Institute in 1951. He married five years after graduating from college and moved to Ann Arbor, MI to start his long, successful career.

Roger worked at a few different companies before settling in at EcoLab where he spent more than 33 years as a salesperson with a territory spanning from Lansing to Detroit. He also found success in translating his education and experience into training other salespeople.

During this time period, Roger and his wife, Wilma, started a family. They have five children, fifteen grandchildren, seventeen great grandchildren and more on the way.

One of his granddaughters, Allison Luurtsema, started at DU in the fall of 2016. Allison grew up playing soccer with her father, Phil, who also spent many hours on the soccer field as a kid. “She has won all the awards you can win, including the top female athlete of her high school,” said her proud grandfather.

When it came time to look for colleges, Allison knew she wanted to play soccer and pursue nursing. One of her coaches recommended Davenport. As her family researched options, Roger showed her a promotional piece with his photo on it from his days at Davenport.

Roger’s experience sparked Allison’s interested in Davenport. “I think it is a great connection to have with my grandpa. Similar to my connection with my dad and soccer, I am able to follow in my grandpa’s footsteps at Davenport, building a family legacy.”

Allison’s first year as a Davenport University nursing student at the W.A. Lettinga Campus is off to a great start. Soon, she will have stories of her own about teachers, student life and classwork to share with her family.

Do you have a Davenport legacy story? Davenport University legacy families are families who have a multi-generational connection to the University. The University identifies legacy students as those who have had a family member or members graduate from DU. Submit your legacy story to!