Alumni in 10
Rachael DeWitt, '11
Title/Employer: Child and Adolescent Therapist, Certified Trauma Practitioner at Midtown Counseling Services
Degree Earned/Emphasis Area: Master's in Social Work and Master's in Public Administration
1. What has your journey been since graduation?
I was hired at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Holland following my social work field placement at the agency. I primarily provided counseling services to children, adolescents, and families affected by sexual abuse. I worked there up until last year when I decided to make a change to spend more time with my two young daughters. I am now employed part-time at Midtown Counseling Services. Midtown is a wonderful organization that seeks to make counseling services available and accessible to all people. I love the balance of serving my community, while also being able to spend more time at home.
2. How has Grand Valley had a role in your journey?
Grand Valley has had a huge impact on my journey. I am so thankful for the people I met at GVSU who mentored and encouraged me along the way. I was able to practically apply what I was learning and build competency through the opportunities facilitated. I am so thankful to GVSU for connecting me with the Children’s Advocacy Center. I had the best experience there as both an intern and then an employee. It has been the most defining experience of my life so far.
3. What is your favorite Grand Valley memory?
My favorite Grand Valley memory was starting the Student Food Pantry, which is now called Replenish. It was a fantastic project to be a part of and I am so proud that it continues to exist and grow today.
4. What three words describe your experience at Grand Valley?
5. How, and why, have you stayed involved with Grand Valley
I recently had the opportunity to return to campus for the ribbon cutting of the new space for Replenish. It was such an honor to be a part of that and see how the space had evolved from a shelf in a file room to its own large, independent space. I also periodically visited campus with my daughters to meet my mother for lunch (before she retired from GVSU) or for tailgating before a football game!
6. Why are you proud to be a Laker for a Lifetime?
I am proud to be a Laker for a lifetime because of the way GVSU has shaped my family, my community, and me. GVSU has a huge presence in West Michigan, and I am proud to be part of the momentum. My brother, sister, and father all are alumni of GVSU, and my mother recently retired from GVSU. Being a Laker is an integral part of my identity and my family’s.
What do you like to do for fun?
Strength training, Pilates, cooking, traveling, reading, and volunteering.
8. What is your favorite quote/motto to live by?
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
And: “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life." - Jane Addams
9. What motivates you?
I am motivated by service. I strive to serve my family, friends, and community in a variety of ways. The world needs more empathy, compassion, and kindness. Through my social work education at GVSU, I made many long-lasting community connections that have provided me with numerous opportunities for service.
10. What book or movie have you recently enjoyed?
The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir by Ruth Wariner
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
Zootopia (This is my daughter’s favorite book, but I'm including it because it's such a good message about how we perceive the world.)