Archive for the 'Academics' Category

Alumni Success Story – Mohamad Abdulkader Agha ‘03

Chancellor Emeritus Donald W. Maine called it fate. Mohamad Abdulkader Agha ‘03 called it meant to be. Their serendipitous relationship is heartwarming. Learn more about Mohamad’s path to Davenport and his success as he lives and works in Dubai, leading the strategy team at the International Humanitarian City (IHC), part of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Global Initiatives foundation to improve 130 Million lives by 2025 through humanitarian and developmental work. Read more below.

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Nearly 6,000 miles from his home in Syria, Agha found a new place to call home in Grand Rapids in early 2001. His decision to come to America wasn’t easy. After losing his father at the age of 13 and his mother only nine years later, Agha found himself looking for guidance in his next step. Luckily, he has three older sisters who had his best interests in mind and encouraged him to gain a global perspective on life by pursuing his MBA in the United States.

His brother-in-law, who is a doctor in the Grand Rapids area, recommended that he check out Davenport because he heard that the class sizes were small and the professors used real-life experiences to teach the classes.

Agha recalled wondering why he should go to a school in a small city, when he could go to school in Los Angeles or New York City.  His brother-in-law’s advice was to go a place where he could have personal attention. Agha remembered his brother-in-law saying, “Don’t be a small fish in a big pond, be a big fish in a small pond.”

Agha started classes at Davenport in spring 2001 and in the summer he completed a graduate program at Georgetown University, then went back home to be with family. While he was home, the events that shook the world on September 11th occurred. Things were uncertain and he was unsure if he was going to return to Davenport.

“I got a phone call from Davenport,” said Agha. “The call was from my advisor.  She said, ‘Congrats, Mohamad! You have been awarded the international students’ scholarship this year. We look forward to your coming back to Davenport.’ And that call made me book my flight to come back.”

As his studies progressed, he continued to build relationships on campus. He got an invitation to speak at the international students’ luncheon because of his reputation for academic success and charismatic professionalism.

“I got up, I did my speech and after I was done, I was asked to join a table with the former president of Davenport University, Don Maine. I shook hands with him and we introduced ourselves to each other. I was sitting there, enjoying being next to the “big man on campus,” yet not really knowing who he was. Then, the former VP of Alumni & Development walked up and said, “Mohamad, that gentleman paid for your scholarship. Your scholarship is the Maine Family International Student Scholarship!”

From that moment, Agha and Maine clicked. Although there was a difference in age and experience, they became friends.

Maine recalled, “When I realized international students did not receive financial aid, I wanted to direct my donation to those international students who needed it, kids like Mohamad. It is the humanitarianism in me. I enjoy helping young global talents.”

As Agha’s career flourished, so did their friendship. “We used to have lunches that lasted two to three hours to discuss global affairs at a restaurant in East Grand Rapids. At that point in my life, I didn’t have a father. So guidance was either spontaneous, by observing others, or by Don giving me the time and mentoring me step by step.”

Agha consulted and updated Maine about every chapter of his life. After earning his MBA from Davenport, Agha worked at Ernst & Young. Next he was recruited by the United Nations. At the age of 30, he was the youngest director hired at the UN to manage the Private Sector Development Program. He led the UN Global Compact as a representative and secretary general to its Advisory Council for five years.

In 2012, Agha left the Middle East. He took a job at the World Logistics Council as the director of strategic partnerships to lead a global team which coordinated with organizations from 56 countries involving the top technology, finance, insurance and semi-government organizations.

Now, Agha and his wife, Rim, and baby twins (Abdulkader & Ayla), live and work in Dubai. He leads the strategy team at the International Humanitarian City (IHC), part of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Global Initiatives foundation to improve 130 Million lives by 2025 through humanitarian and developmental work.

“Here is a person whose country has collapsed,” said Maine. “He built a brand new global career. There are a lot of people who could not do that. He now has mastered the culture of the UAE and risen to the point of being entrusted to serve its global initiatives. He left Damascus to work in Geneva and Kuala Lumpur and then made his way back to the Middle East.”

What makes Agha’s relationship with Davenport so special is the personal attention he was given by Maine and the professors. He left Davenport with high academic knowledge and the culminating experience of all of the individuals who shared their experiences and knowledge with him.

“I am thankful for Don Maine because he filled a void in my life. Yes, his scholarship has made a huge difference in my life, but money could be replaced. What isn’t replaceable is his experience and later on his friendship and love that keeps growing. Thank you, Don Maine!”

6 ways to get involved in your Alumni Association in 2017

Stay connect by getting involved in your active alumni network!

Social Media - Follow us on Facebook and Instagram! Connecting on our social media outlets is one of the fastest ways to get the most updated information on what is happening with DU alumni. Plus, who doesn’t like fun pictures of alumni and snowy campus photos!

Events - Attend an event! Our 2017 schedule of events will include alumni tailgates, professional development opportunities and special days on the golf course! We have something for everyone!  View our upcoming events on our website.

Volunteer – Volunteer your time and talents to speak to a class, join at a regional alumni club, or offer advice on an alumni panel. Are you a recent grad in West Michigan? Join our Young Alumni Council!

Athletics – Cheer on your Panthers alongside our mascot, Pounce, at an athletics event. Not located in Grand Rapids? Many of our teams play games all over the country! Visit the athletics website for the full schedule of events.

Sign up to receive Davenport University e-mail updates to connect with fellow alumni and stay informed about DU’s latest initiatives, events and professional development opportunities.

Make a Gift – Invest in future DU students by contributing to the general fund, scholarships or a specific department. Learn more about giving back to DU.


Contact Information

To get involved in alumni activities or to learn more about benefits and services, contact:

Jason Madden ‘08
Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Development
616-233-2593
Jason.Madden@davenport.edu

Erik Dane ‘07
Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and Events
616-233-3420
Erik.Dane@davenport.edu

Sara Mooney ‘09
Assistant Director of Alumni Communications and Development
616-233-3419
Sara.Mooney@davenport.edu

Road Map for your Personal Development

I’m a huge fan of GPS. Before that, I was a constant user of websites like MapQuest and Google Maps. Before that, I possessed a 50-state road atlas, State of Michigan map with detailed inset maps of various cities and two county map books that included every street within the county. When I’m driving, I definitely want to know where I’m going.

When I first started in my professional career, I was driving to a conference in Atlanta, Georgia. To this day, I remember working my way through the various pages of the atlas, comparing routes and then eventually highlighting which expressways I would take that would be the quickest option. Doing this type of planning can seem tedious, or worse, pointless. However, I believe planning your trips saves enormous time in the long-run, keeps you out of trouble areas and allows you to remain focused on your long-range destination.

Planning Your Life

You see, I don’t know anyone who ventures out on a trip – whether for business or pleasure – and operates with the mentality that they don’t know where they’re going, nor do they care. I don’t know anyone who gets in their car and says, “Let’s drive south for a while, and where we end up, that’s our vacation destination!” I don’t know anyone who travels for business and does not know exactly where they are headed. Unfortunately, I know a lot of people who treat their lives that way. Each new day that they wake up is unplanned, unfocused, and very accidental with respect to direction.

In March of 2012, I was reflecting on the importance of having purpose in life, and tweeted what proved to be a profound statement that I use quite frequently now in trainings and consultative services: “You will never drift into purposefulness.” So, if you can’t drift into purposefulness, then it has to be intentional.

How to Create a Personal Development Plan

A friend of mine always tells people that his favorite leadership quote is from the movie, “Alice in Wonderland.” An odd place to find leadership principles, but a quality statement, nonetheless: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Now, to be clear, this isn’t advocating multiple options to the same destination, this is talking about the end destination not mattering, so your options are all equally valid (or to be fair, invalid!). This is like getting in the car and saying, “Let’s drive south to our vacation!” This type of attitude about our lives is unacceptable to me, and I’m hoping it is unacceptable to you as well. To keep yourself from falling into the trap that you can drift into purposeful, I’m proposing something different – a Personal Development Plan. So, what does a Personal Development Plan look like? Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Where do you want to go? What do you want your life to look like in about five years? Having too long of a timeframe (over five years) can make the end seem unrealistic. Having too short of a time frame can make the progress seem too incremental. My suggestion is to look at all areas of your life: professional, educational, financial, personal, physical, etc., and determine what you want to look like at the end of five years. That becomes your “destination location” – you now know where you want to go.
  • Begin taking each of the categories and identifying what has to happen in your life to get there within the timeframe. For example, if you’re going to be pursuing an advanced degree, it isn’t enough to put on your plan that you want to graduate. You also have to think strategically about every step. You may have an entrance exam requirement to fulfill like a GMAT or GRE, the application process, etc. You need to include every aspect into your plan.
  • Determine what you need to do differently beginning today, to start reaching the goals that you have. If you want to be somewhere different in five years from where you are now, then you have to do things that are different. The layman’s definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over but to expect a different result. So, what do you need to do differently? Some examples include reading a certain number of books on your area of expertise within your industry; begin blogging; identify a mentor within your industry; or, attend conferences that will force you to expand your learning. 

The Benefit to You

Having a Personal Development Plan sets you apart from your peers. It will create options for you both personally and professionally. A recent study shows that 42% of college graduates do not read another book after graduation. If you’re not reading, you’re missing out learning best practices. The fact is, leaders are readers, and if you’re not reading, you won’t be leading.

By separating yourself from your colleagues, you begin to be the one who people go to for additional opportunities, for answers to questions and for input on strategic decisions. All of this helps to get you to your intended destination that you’ve targeted for yourself in your five-year plan.

Let the Institute for Professional Excellence Help…

With our professional development and/or executive coaching services, the Institute for Professional Excellence (IPEx) at Davenport University can assist you regardless of your level within your organization.  IPEx will help you reach your greatest potential by providing education and training opportunities to support your Personal Development Plan. We want to make sure that your future looks different from your present and you stay on track to achieve your goals. IPEx can help you identify and arrive at your desired destination.

© 2016 | Dan Rundhaug | Executive Director
Institute for Professional Excellence (IPEx) | Davenport University

Dan can be reached at:
drundhaug@davenport.edu or 616.233.2582

 

 

Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Visited Campus

Last week, Davenport University was honored to have Anil Singh-Molares, a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows (WWVF) visit campus. The WWVF program, operating for more than 40 years, brings prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders and other nonacademic professionals to campuses across the U.S. for substantive dialog with students and faculty members. “This is a tremendous honor for Davenport University,” stated Dr. Pamela Imperato, Dean for the Donald W. Maine College of Business at Davenport.  “Mr. Singh-Molares shared his unique perspectives on global business issues and entrepreneurship with our students, faculty and guests. We are excited for the opportunity this represents for our students that will further enhance their studies.”

Quick Facts about the visit: 

17 classes – visited or attended an event
Approximately 425-430 students have participated in a class or event
Events at Lettinga, Lansing and Holland campuses
29 faculty have participated

Throughout the week, students had opportunities to engage with Singh-Molares on topics of entrepreneurship, ethics and compassionate globalization within their classrooms and at events on the W. A. Lettinga, Lansing and Holland campuses.  In addition, he presented at three events held on the Davenport’s W.A. Lettinga Campus for all students, faculty and staff, alumni and members of the larger community.

Learn more about his Anil and the overview of his talks on the DU website.

Thank you to our community partners and connections:

  • M.E. Davenport Foundation
  • West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum
  • Cascade Engineering
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • JCI
  • Haworth – Sustainability Division
  • Gordon Water System
  • Huntington Bank
  • LCC
  • Grace Bible College
  • Kyper College
  • Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • At Holland Campus – 6 non-profits from United Way to LUAP

Alumni Success Story – Megan Collison ‘12

As a Family Medicine Physician Assistant at Metro Health Hospital, alumna Megan Collison ’12 is devoted to providing comprehensive care for people of all ages. “I care for patients who need anything from a basic check-up to taking out stitches to treatment of chronic health conditions.” Learn more about Megan and why she enjoys being in family medicine below.

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Tell us about yourself, Megan!

I was born and raised in Grand Rapids. I attended West Catholic and was involved in athletics – volleyball, basketball, golf and track. I knew I wanted to play basketball in college, and Davenport was the perfect fit. I graduated with my medical case management degree in 2012 and a year later, got into the competitive Physician Assistant program at GVSU on my first try. Now, I am a Family Medicine Physician Assistant at Metro Health Hospital.

Tell us about your experience at Davenport.

When I found out I received a full-ride academic scholarship and had the chance to play basketball at DU, I could not turn down the opportunity. I loved every minute of my time at Davenport and made some lifelong friends. I was involved as a Panther Pack Leader, student-athlete and student employee in the call center. I enrolled in the medical case management program because healthcare has always been a passion of mine. I knew I wanted to be a PA, so the medical case management program covered  most of the prerequisite classes for my next step in the masters program. I took nursing classes too, which I think helped me be successful in PA school.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

As a Family Medicine Physician Assistant, our team’s goal is to provide comprehensive care for people of all ages. The practice that I work with has one supervising physician and two other PAs. We work together, yet very independently. We have about 6,500 patients in our practice and I usually see about 20-25 patients a day. Patients visit our office for many reasons ranging from the care of a new baby, routine check-ups, post hospital visits, or treatment of ongoing disease like diabetes.

How did you decide on family medicine?

I decided a few months before I graduated that I wanted to go into family practice. My original plan was to go into orthopedic surgery. After I had a few practicums, I realized family medicine was my passion. I enjoy building relationships with families. I’m able to treat everyone from babies and their mothers to their grandpas & grandmas. One of the joys of my job is telling someone they are pregnant, caring for them throughout their pregnancy, and then caring for the baby once he or she is born and watch them grow up. It becomes very family-oriented.

What is your dream job?

This is my dream job! I love my job because every day is different, which keeps me on my toes! Also, the people I work with are great! It is a rewarding career.

What advice to do you have for students?

As long as you work hard and are motivated to do well, there are always opportunities for you regardless of what type of degree you have. Don’t settle. Don’t stop until you are where you want to be in life. It may be difficult, but it will be worth it.

What do you do when you are not working?

My boyfriend and I love to golf and ride bikes. I have a basset hound, Bentley, who is the best. I also enjoy golfing with my mom and my grandma, who is 85.

Alumni Success Story – Myrna Starr Brown ’14

“Davenport University helped me find my purpose,” said Myrna Starr Brown ’14. After nearly two decades as a hair stylist, Myrna turned in her clippers for a stethoscope as she earned her BSN at Davenport. Today, she is a RN Unit Manager at Sanctuary at McAuley in Muskegon, MI assisting senior residents in their rehabilitation experience. Learn more about Myrna’s journey below.

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Q & A With Myrna!

Tell us about yourself, Myrna!

I graduated from Reeths-Puffer High School in Muskegon. I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a nurse, but instead I went to cosmetology school. For nearly two decades, I worked hard to build a strong clientele and ultimately became a well-established and successful hair stylist and salon owner.  I earned a great living for my family.  After a series of personal and professional challenges, I decided that I wanted to start over and return to school. I retired from the hair business and completely changed my career path. I enrolled in the nursing program at DU. Today, I am a registered nurse.

What was your experience like at DU?

My experience at DU was great. I felt like a fish out of water because I was the oldest student there – the other students were nearly the same as age as my daughter!  I remember my first couple of weeks – I showed up in business attire with a jacket and high heels. The students were wearing t-shirts, flip-flops and pajamas! I quickly adapted to their style.

But, my journey at Davenport University was incredible. They supported me through all of my ups and downs. Being a divorced, single, full-time mother of three, working, traveling back and forth from Muskegon to GR for classes and clinical – plus many other things weighing on my mind, I had a lot on my plate. The professors and my fellow classmates were always there for me. Davenport University helped me to succeed and achieve my goals.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

I am a RN Unit Manager at Sanctuary at McAuley in Muskegon. I manage and help coordinate the care for up to 12 patients at a time with a direct support staff of 3 CNAs.  The residents that I care for are not sick enough to be in the hospital but not ready to go home. They need short-term rehab services due to recovery from some type of orthopedic surgery, such as a hip replacement, or they might be recuperating from an exacerbation of other chronic illnesses like COPD or congestive heart failure.

I take my work personally and I truly love the people that I provide care for. When I look at my residents, I see my dad. I think, this is someone’s dad or mom, or this is someone’s husband or wife, brother or sister.  I put my heart and soul into my work, just as I would do for my own.  It is a wonderful feeling to know that I can be an effectual  component in the promotion of healing, health, and wellness for others.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Earning my nursing degree from Davenport University. My mother is a registered nurse and I remember watching her go through nursing school as a kid. I always wanted to go back to school, but I didn’t think I was smart enough. I thought my siblings were smarter than me – I have one brother who is a doctor, one is an accountant, and one is a respiratory therapist. I also have a sister who is a social worker. Davenport helped me realize my potential – I was on the Dean’s List every semester!  Now, I am a bachelors prepared registered nurse!

What advice do you have for DU recent grads?

There may be some obstacles trying to seek employment and settle into your new profession because “life” is much different than the structured school setting that is designed for your success.  Try not to stress, stay focused, and take them down one at a time!  I was so busy thinking of all the things that I didn’t think I could do, when all I had to do is try!  Just do it!   Things always seem to work out.

What do you do in your free time?

I recently got married, so I spend a lot of time with my husband. I enjoy spending time with my kids and family.  I am currently pursuing my career goals in advanced practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner with an expected graduation date of October 2017!

Live2Lead Conference

Davenport University has partnered with Live2Lead, a half-day, leader development experience designed to equip attendees with new perspectives, practical tools and key takeaways.  Learn from world-class leadership experts and begin to lead with renewed passion and commitment.  You will not want to miss this dynamic leadership event hosted by Rebecca Ward on October 7, 2016 in Kentwood.

This year’s conference focuses on intentionality. The talks will give students, alumni and community members an opportunity to take a step back and analyze how intentional they are about their connections with others, with their time and with their energy. This event is meant to help people in their journey through living a life of leadership even after the event concludes. Online seminars will take place each month after the event to continue looking into the principles of leadership.

Your registration for this event will send a DU student to the simulcast for free! It is a buy-one-get-one offer so YOU, an alum, can send a DU college student and attend the conference for only $59.99. Register in July for a discounted price.

Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/live2lead-kentwood-tickets-22284356109 to register or gather more information. Kassy Clark is also available to answer questions at kclark53@davenport.edu.

5 New Things Happening Around the W.A. Lettinga Campus this Summer!

With the growing enrollment of the W.A. Lettinga Campus, many  new things are popping up all over the campus this summer! Check out the list of new buildings, residence halls, clubs, and student organizations below!

#1 Donald W. Maine College of Business Building

The Donald W. Maine College of Business building is starting to look more like a business school. Come January of 2017, this three-story, 60,000-square-foot building will support business education, entrepreneurship and creativity. This space is intended to give students a flexible learning environment to help them better interact, study and create. The College of Business building will make the transition from class to class much easier, and it will free up space which will provide much more room for technological and educational growth.

#2: Panther Ridge Residence Hall

Lots of progress is being made over at the new apartment residence hall – Panther Ridge! Panther Ridge will be a new apartment style residence hall at the corner of 60th and Kraft for DU students to take advantage of in September of 2016. All the rooms have been reserved for this Fall. We are anticipating a fun, vibrant housing complex for students.

#3: Panther Woods Residence Hall

The fourth building in the new Panther Woods complex is also coming together quickly! This new Panther Woods building on 68th is just a mile away from campus, walking distance to the Farmers Athletic Complex. Set to open in September of 2016, this new housing option is perfect for upper level students.

#4: New Farmers Insurance Athletic Complex Turf Field  

The Farmers Insurance Athletic Complex, located on 68th St., is now complete with home stands, concessions, a ticket booth and athletic locker rooms and offices, ensuring the best possible experience for DU athletic teams and our guests.  This space houses Football, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Men’s and Women’s Track & Field, and Men’s Rugby and many other practices, events and community activities.

 

 

 

#5: New Registered Student Organizations (RSO)

Next on our list of new things happening around the W.A. Lettinga Campus this summer are new Registered Student Organizations. The first RSO is “DUbate,” a student organization with the goal of ultimately participating in college level debates. The DU Black Student Union, along with two other academically honorary societies: Alpha Lambda Delta and Upsilon Pi Epsilon are also new to campus this summer.

Stay up to date with campus happenings - update your information to receive the monthly alumni newsletter!

Meet Mr. Sim-Man!

Meet Mr. Sim-Man! He resides in the W.A. Lettinga, Lansing, Warren and Midland nursing simulation labs. He and his friends, Sim-Mom and Sim-Newby simulate real patients. They talk, breathe, sweat, cry, seize, deliver babies, turn blue with many more scenario details. High Fidelity Simulators allow students to practice clinical skill competencies and develop clinical reasoning skills in a safe and fun environment. This experience adds excitement to the learning process and produces safe, quality practicing nursing graduates.