When Jeanine Anderson came to Grand Valley from the south side of Chicago, she discovered that Student Senate gave her an outlet to influence the injustice that existed in the world.
“If I wouldn’t have become involved in Student Senate, I don’t know where I would have ended up,” said Anderson. “I grew a lot as a person through my experience at Grand Valley and I learned that if I want to make a change I need to take affirmative steps to do something about it.”
She now works as assistant district attorney for Bronx County, New York.
“Working in the Bronx community is very culturally, ethnically and fiscally similar to the south side of Chicago and it takes me back to where I started,” said Anderson. “The difference is now I can actually do something to help reduce the struggles of the people living here, which ties into what I’ve wanted to do my whole life.”
Anderson graduated from Grand Valley in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and earned a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2012. During her time at Grand Valley, Anderson was the 2009 recipient of the Venderbush Student Leader Award and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa National Honorary Leadership Fraternity.
At the end of her first year at Grand Valley, Anderson ran for Student Senate and was elected as a general assembly member. She later served as the vice president of Political Affairs and also co-chaired a sustainability subcommittee.
During her time with Student Senate, Anderson was involved with the “Get out the Vote” campaign, Grand Valley’s September 11 memorial ceremony, and fundraising for the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons.
“Jeanine was the type of student who made those around her better,” said Mark Richards, associate professor of political science. “As she has climbed the ladder of success, she has helped others up along the way.”
Anderson said being a part of an organization like Student Senate was a stepping stone in her career and helped to her develop leadership skills and learn how to effectively communicate her ideas in a way that would have an impact on others.
“Student Senate gave me the opportunity to meet so many amazing people who are willing to rally around and support you no matter what,” she said.
In the future Anderson said she hopes to continue to be a positive influence wherever her career takes her.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you’re going and where you end up,” said Anderson.
by Jessica Hines