Alumni in 10

Michael A. Couch II, '06

Michael A. Couch II, '06

Title/Employer: Financial Aid Technical Specialist, Grand Rapids Community College

Degree Earned/Emphasis Area: Movement Science, K-12 emphasis


1What has your journey been since graduation?
After graduation, I found that my passion working with students on a college campus came from my experiences as an orientation leader and working in the Office of Student Life [at GVSU]. Those experiences helped me to continue my education at Western Michigan University obtaining my master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs. Currently, I am working on my doctoral degree at Ferris State University with the same emphasis area. 

I am currently working at Grand Rapids Community College. I also met my wife, Janean, at GVSU in 2001. We were married in 2010 and currently live in Grand Rapids. 

2. How has Grand Valley had a role in your journey?
Grand Valley helped me find my passion for working with students and serving others.  My experiences and time at GVSU helped me mature in many ways. It helped me develop into a leader and develop skills that I still use today. GVSU has been a part of my personal and professional life, and I will forever be grateful for the time, experiences and knowledge gained from my time there. Also, serving on the African American Alumni Association board really helped me connect and extend my network by building relationships with other alums in the country.

3. What is your favorite Grand Valley memory?
My favorite GVSU memory would be meeting my wife, Janean. We met the first day of classes in Math 110 in Mackinac Hall.  

Also, working in Student Life and having the opportunity to meet the late Dr. Oliver Wilson is a great memory I will always cherish.  His words and encouragement continue to motivate and inspire me to this very day.

4. What three words describe your experience at Grand Valley?

5. How, and why, have you stayed involved with Grand Valley since graduation?
I have stayed involved with GVSU by serving on the African American Alumni Association board and attending numerous events. I’ve had the great opportunity to speak at the Student to Professional Conference, and I have stayed involved by giving to support the institution’s scholarships. I feel that GVSU gave so much to me in helping me develop into who I am that giving back is something that I must do in order to help others. 

6. Why are you proud to be a Laker for a Lifetime?
I am proud to be a Laker for a Lifetime because I know that my education from GVSU has value and merit, and because we as a university are continuing to grow and do great things. I am excited about what the future holds for GVSU and more excited to say that I have taken advantage of the opportunity to be a part of it.

7. What do you like to do for fun?
For fun, we enjoy traveling and spending time with friends and family.

8. What is your favorite quote/motto to live by?
One of my favorite quotes is from the late Dr. Oliver Wilson: “It is my sincere hope that you will help us continue to foster an environment where civility and caring for each other are valued and affirmed.” —Dr. Oliver Wilson, 2008.  His quote describes my experience at GVSU and helps me in my work today realizing that students need a safe environment to develop and grow.

9. What motivates you?
There are a variety of things motivating me right now. First and foremost is family.  Making sure that I am providing and setting an example that will inspire them to do whatever they set out to do. I believe I was sent on this journey in higher education to be a voice and advocate for underrepresented student populations. To help remove barriers and create access to higher education while also providing students with the supports needed to graduate. Lastly, making sure that I am following God’s will and doing the work that He wants me to do.

10. What book or movie have you recently enjoyed?
Most of my reading is for course work now, so my outlet for enjoyment lately has been movies. The last movie I really enjoyed was “Creed” starring Michael B. Jordan.

October 2016

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