Monthly Archive for August, 2017

Kuana Says Thank You…

Dear Davenport University Donors,

Hello, my name is Kuana Marie School. I am a senior nursing student at Davenport University at the Lansing campus. I want to begin by saying “thank you” for supporting scholarships at all of our Davenport locations. Because of you, I received a scholarship that not only helped to fund my nursing education, it actually ensured that I was able to remain in school to date. There was a point in time recently that being dropped was eminent (not for a lack of effort nor poor grades). Rather, what threatened my ability to remain a student was merely the inability to complete payment on the last 20% of my tuition. It was the MLK Essay contest scholarship award that came through for me. And, to my astonishment, I was awarded the exact amount I needed. You – the scholarship donors – are not some superficial extension of the college. You just may be the very core of it…a crucial aspect that allows us students to actualize our innate gifts. The end result being that we want to give back after we graduate. At least this is true for me.

As a child, I was fascinated by learning, regardless of a lack of resources and uninvolved parents. I was that child who would at times choose to skip recess in order to read the encyclopedia in a corner, or to help my teachers in the classroom. At home, I would look after my little brothers and spend time teaching them the skills I learned. Later, in my teen years, I enjoyed helping my grandmother (who suffers from a severe mental illness) and great-grandmother on a regular basis. I became fully aware that I was someone who received a deep sense of gratification from helping others. Giving back was cathartic and created a sense of purpose for me even then.

This interest in helping people led me to become a certified athletic trainer and nutritional coach for a fitness center in East Lansing, MI. I was able to encourage others towards living a better life, and I was also “practicing what I preached”, I was healthy and I felt great. Even though that career lasted over a decade – still there was this “itch” – a feeling that there was more in me to give. But, by this time I had become a mother, and had a family of my own to tend to, which became my priority.

Finally, after hearing time and time again from clients who served in the medical field that I would “make a great nurse”, I did it. I jumped in enthusiastically in pursuit of a nursing degree and began working as a certified nurse aide. Working in home care and hospice care was utterly fulfilling, and I loved every minute of it! With each pre-requisite class I took, came more confirmation that I was in the right place. Once accepted into the BSN program at Davenport University in Lansing, I began my role as a student nurse caring for patients in my clinical rotations.

Nursing school can be challenging. Especially while working nearly 30 hours a week to ensure the bills are paid and there is food on the table for my family. I had to take two years off from school from 2011 through 2013 to work and save money. When I returned, I learned a few of my classes I had earned a 4.0 grade in had expired at the junior college I had transferred from. I was tempted to give up then, but followed through. The financial aspect of making it through nursing school as a single (divorced) mother has been tough at times. But, this is my calling, and I have paced myself to make it this far, and I do not give up easily.

I have one year left to graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Science and am aspiring to graduate with honors. I will be the first in my family to graduate from college.

I am currently involved in scientific research at the Lansing campus. My interest in research since my early years has continued to expand, allowing me to hone in on what I am meant to pursue post-graduation. Since my junior year, I have volunteered in DU’s Bioinformatics Lab under the leadership of instructor, Laura Harris as a student researcher, author and presenter at microbiology conferences around the state. I have also actively participated in the student nurse association (SNA) on my campus, and served on the board during my junior year in the editor position. I am still an active participant with our Lansing SNA. These things I simply enjoy, and have learned much thus far.

Our Lansing Bioinformatics team seeks to better understand antibiotic resistant genes of bacteria, in effort to assist in creating more efficient pharmaceutical therapies to promote better patient outcomes. Our team was the first ever to be published in an internationally recognized scientific publication such as Bioinformation from Davenport University. This supplement to my nursing program has grown a desire within me serve in community health, such as infectious disease, clinical trials nursing or integrative health.

I have never lost that desire to help others, and I will give back. Because of people like you with this same desire, I am able to continue “paying it forward”. I wholeheartedly thank you for your support of Davenport University. Without you, I would not have been able to finish nursing school and pursue my lifelong dream of helping others in this process we all experience: life!

Many thanks,

Kuana M. School

Alumni Success Story – Eric Killough ‘06

Retired Coast Guard Chief Eric Killough ‘06 has had several lifetimes of achievements already and is now setting his sights on a business platform he created in Slovenia to help young people reach their highest potential. Learn more about Eric’s story as a mentor, entrepreneur and coach below.

Tell us about yourself!
I am originally from Seal Beach, California. I am a retired Coast Guard Chief. I live full time on the coast of the Adriatic Sea in the small Central European country of Slovenia. In 2008, I created the concept “Navdih Amundsen,” which means maximizing human potential through dedication, endurance and persistence. I seek out opportunities to assist people in achieving self-fulfillment or opportunity.  For example, I help young Slovenians find academic and athletic success through attending college and taking advantage of opportunities in the USA. Some of the activities involve 1-on-1 mentoring geared towards “life path projecting”, goal setting, personal financial management, or meeting physical fitness objectives. My desire to help young people is rooted from my time as a Coast Guard Chief and in a position of influence over younger men & women. I have assisted and guided many towards earning their college degrees.

Along with my Navdih Amundsen project, I am an English tutor and the facilitator of a Conversational English program at Srednja Tehniška Šola, a college preparatory high school in Koper, Slovenia. Perhaps my most rewarding work has been as an American football coach. In 2015, I started the American Football Klub at Srednja Tehniška Šola Koper. Aside from being a retired Coast Guard Chief, tutor, teacher, coach, real estate investor and mentor, I am also a certified personal trainer which fits perfectly with my coaching and mentoring responsibilities.

As a graduate of DU, when you think of your experience what comes to mind?
My first thought is always how grateful I am that the program I wanted was available when I needed it. I’ve always been a traveler and interested in the global community. While pursuing my MBA it was awesome to have fellow graduate students from Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Serbia, Canada and, of course, the USA. It really added to my understanding, as a student of global business, of foreign cultures and ideas. With 11 years gone since completing my MBA, I am still close with my number one collaborator from school and that means a lot to me. And as these years have gone by I’ve become prouder and prouder of the direction that Davenport University is going. I’m proud to be part of a growing legacy.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Personally, I have been on all seven continents, circumnavigated the globe twice, swam in four of the five oceans, and crossed the Atlantic on a ship. I have been a competitive weight lifter and earned my way onto the Wall of Fame at Aviano Air Base, Aviano Italy. In 2010, I placed 3rd in the Slovenian Open National Bench Press Championship for males over 40 years old. I earned my MBA from Davenport University, which is my proudest academic accomplishment. Professionally, making Chief in the Coast Guard. I was a member of a four man crew of awesome Coast Guardsmen at Coast Guard Recruiting Office Detroit. We were selected, out of 104 recruiting offices in the entire USA, as 2006 National Recruiting Office of the Year – the same year I received my MBA from Davenport. I also feel that starting the American Football Klub at Srednja Tehniška Šola Koper and succeeding with my rental property and equity trading is a huge accomplishment.

But if there was one thing I’d say, if I had to say just one thing and label it “biggest accomplishment” I’d say it is being financially independent and in a position to help others and having the results to show for it.

What has inspired you to serve others?
Because so many people have helped me. My biological mother lived in a car. I was placed for adoption at birth and adopted by an awesome family. I went from the back seat of a car to Seal Beach, Orange County, California. I often tell people that the reason I don’t play the lottery is that I already won it. My parents gave me an incredible life. They instilled in me the importance of education, reading, and financial discipline. My father, Hadley William Killough II, my former Little League baseball coach, Jack Snow, and John Landers, who recruited me to the Coast Guard, taught me so much about respect, effort, and confidence, which lead me to the right path. Also while working as a recruiter myself, and second in command of recruiting for Southeastern Michigan, I worked under the leadership of Fred Napoleone. He showed me how to play cool under pressure, think outside the box, and connect with people in a way that inspires. Helping others is what I am wired to do.

What is your dream job?
My dream job would be to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Regrettably, I’m terrible at baseball.

I would eventually like to work for a small university or community college and share my experiences with students. Help them dream a little bigger by setting the goals that will lead to making those dreams come true.

What do you do when you are not working?
I read, swim in the sea, hike, weight lift, drink a bit of beer, go to church, and spend time with my two daughters.