Alumni Spotlights

Pamela Besteman '96

Pamela Besteman '96

Peninsula Community Rowing Club/ Director & Coach

LinkedIn Profile

1. Tell us about your journey since graduation.
Shortly after graduating, I went to East Lansing and started coaching and grad school. From there, I found myself moving away from Michigan, and then back to where I established myself as the First and only Female Head Coach for Eastern Michigan University's Women's Rowing Team (and started as the First Assistant when the program started in 2001). I married the Love of my Life in Ann Arbor and 2 years later moved to Connecticut, then eventually California. Within 2 months after moving, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This changed my trajectory as my new focus was on my health and well-being. The past 10 years have been a roller coaster ride managing cancer, infertility, chemo-related menopause, depression, Lyme disease, and its confections all while trying to not lose hope that I would get better. The journey was not what I imagined when I graduated in 1996, and I would love for some of it to not have happened. One bright spot within that journey is the memories from my time at GVSU.

2. Share a favorite Grand Valley memory.
During a winter practice for the Rowing Team, our coach had us play soccer on the Ski Hill. The Men's squad goal was up at the top of the hill, and the Women's squad goal was at the bottom of the hill. We had so much fun running up and down the hill, chasing the ball, tackling each other, and laughing our heads off while trying to beat our teammates. Forgot who won, but can't forget that wonderful memory!

3. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
"No, you don't need to memorize the equation, there is always a book you can look it up in." -Jim Scott, Associate Professor, Emeritus at Grand Valley State University

4. List three words you would use to describe your Grand Valley experience.
Challenging, Empowering, and Transformative

5. What difference would you like to make in the world?
1. By creating a low-cost, no-cost rowing program for youth in my local community. There are many families who do not have the resources available to pay for the current clubs in the area. I would like to find a way to remove those barriers and build a more diverse youth program.

February 2024

Interest Area(s)
Health and Physical Education, Psychology

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Page last modified February 2, 2024