Laura Burkett Holstine, ‘05 made a promise to herself long ago that she would someday work in a healing profession. While she struggled as an undergraduate with making healthy life choices, she knew at some point she would be helping others on their own healing journey. Burkett is now a holistic nutrition and eating psychology counselor with her own private practice, Real Food Wellness in Grand Rapids. Her journey from the time she was a student at Grand Valley to where she is today is not only motivational, but inspiring.
Burkett arrived at Grand Valley her freshman year, terrified and excited. She noted that moving in as a freshman was one of her fondest GVSU memories. She chose GVSU because it was a perfect balance in size, attention, and quality. She also loved the beautiful campus scenery. Burkett was very involved with Laker Aerobics and Fitness. She enjoyed the classes so much that she became a certified instructor and taught almost every class that fit her schedule.
“It was a wonderful way to be part of the GVSU community and meet a lot of new people,” Burkett said.
Grand Valley helped Burkett see where her strengths were. She was gifted and drawn to interpersonal communication, eastern philosophy, marketing, and wellness.
“Because I was able to explore diverse classes within my own chosen discipline, it made trusting my professional journey much easier,” said Burkett.
Burkett received her degree in Communications in 2005 and after graduation she immediately found a position as a marketing coordinator at a local physical therapy clinic. Her career path shifted tremendously when she became a professional ballroom dance teacher for four years. It was at the studio where she met her husband, Brandon, who was also a teacher. When they both decided that they did not want to open their own franchise or compete professionally, Burkett made the decision to follow her passion for wellness and began a two year program in holistic nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She then began working with clients and building a private practice.
“I realized that nutritional information alone was only getting people so far, so I pursued more education in nutritional psychology in Boulder for a year and my private practice has transformed,” Burkett explained.
Burkett is now happily coaching clients and running her business full-time from Grand Rapids. She enjoys leaving her evenings open to spend time with her husband, though she admitted to being known to work after dinner.
The yoga community is something Burkett has become very involved in. She completed a 9 month journey to receive her yoga teacher certification at Cascade Yoga Studio. She also finds solace in nature.
“I am inspired by nature and its natural cycles,” she said.
As for the future, Burkett hopes to continue to develop online study courses in wellness, explore somatic therapy practices, and deepen her studies of Jungian psychology.
“I often trust my instincts on a day to day basis. Five year plans often change. As long as what I am doing feels good, I will continue to do it,” Burkett said.