GVSU students juggles jobs, family responsibilities with plans to earn master's degree

May 09, 2022

GVSU students juggles jobs, family responsibilities with plans to earn master's degree

Juggling family and job responsibilities is enough for many people. Catherine Russell-Maxson adds college classes and applications for a master’s degree program to the mix.

In April, the Traverse City resident will earn a bachelor’s degree in allied health sciences from Grand Valley State University’s Traverse City Regional Center. Russell-Maxson was a concurrent student at Northwestern Michigan College and GVSU, then transferred to GVSU in 2017.

She and her husband have two children under the age of 2. They moved from New York City to Traverse City six years ago to be closer to family. It was then Russell-Maxson decided it was time to finish college.

“I was a medical assistant when we lived in New York but I always knew I wanted to be a provider,” she said. “I would take a class here and there, chipping away at a degree.”

Russell-Maxson worked as an insurance adjuster in New York, a job she continues to do in Traverse City, while working as a nurse assistant at Munson Medical Center.

“At Munson, I help with rounds and patient care, take their vital signs and help with their personal care,” she said.

She said her proactive attitude helps keep her and her busy schedule organized.

“I have never been a reactive person. I also prioritize all my daily tasks,” she said. “It’s nice that all of my classes are online and offer flexibility.” Russell-Maxson plans to apply to GVSU to enroll in the physician assistant studies program. “I have always enjoyed medicine and the interaction you have with patients,” she said. Her children are young, but Russell-Maxson said her jobs, education and career aspirations are all done with them in mind. “I keep pushing myself not only for me, but I want my kids to be proud of me,” she said.

By Michele Coffill

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Page last modified May 9, 2022