Archive for August, 2010

Rachel Daien BS04

Rachel Daien is a very smart woman, I mean she chose to go to EMU right?  Well, Daien also was an EMU Regents Scholar and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2004 with her degree in Elementary Education, she triple minored in math, science and social studies.  Daien knew she made the right choice when she toured the campus. “It felt like a welcoming place.  I remember the tour guides were funny, yet very knowledgeable,” she said, “I was very excited to move away from home for the first time.”

Daien  also holds a Masters in Education and has taught middle school level math, science, and social studies for the past five years.  She currently works for Plymouth-Canton Schools teaching 6th grade math.  She is also the MathCounts coach for 6th graders.

“I got to be where I am today because I am intrinsically motivated to succeed. I also benefited from the encouragement and support from my parents, family, teachers, and close friends,” said Daien when reflecting on her success. She also gives credit to the Honors College at EMU for helping her accomplish many things. “Their smaller class sizes were the ideal setting for college learning,” she said. But it wasn’t just the class sizes, Daien also benefited from the sense of community that was formed within the honors program. During her freshman year Daien lived in Wise hall, where the majority of on campus honors student.  “I made lifelong friends, became involved in RHA, and created useful study groups,” she said, “I also utilized tutoring services and later served as a student tutor.”

Daien was involved in other organizations on campus as well. “I strongly advise EMU students to get as involved as possible in campus organizations.  The more involved you become, the more connected you are to your school and community,” she said.  Besides being in RHA and a tutor she was also involved with the Hillel House and VISION, she was a part of the Mentor Program, was a NSOA and she was President of National Residence Hall Honorary. “I strongly believe that by participating with these organizations, I developed into a stronger, more confident leader,” Daien said,  “The skills and experiences obtained help me every day in working with my colleagues and teaching children.”

It wasn’t just the organizations that impacted Daien’s EMU experience. She encountered professors that she liked, her three favorite being Jeffery Bernstein, Barbara Leapard and Annette Wannamaker.  She took a particular political science course about government with him because other students recommended Berstein.   He took an unorthodox approach to his class and offered an American government simulation to engage the students. “The simulation was the perfect way to have a hands-on learning experience to fully understand how government works,” said Daien.

Leapard was a math professor that Daien had multiple times. “She was a phenomenal teacher.  She encouraged, inspired, and motivated future teachers,” says Daien, “She also taught us the newest school methods and exposed us to current curriculum.” Last but not least is Wannamaker, with whom Daien took two courses in the literature department.  “Although I do not teach language arts, her class truly impacted me and gave me cross-curricular ideas that I can implement in my own classroom,” said Daien.

In closing, Daien wanted to send some encouraging words out to those in the education field. “I encourage Students going into education to spend many hours in the classroom to be absolutely sure that this is their passion.  Education is about so much more than just teaching. The more time that is spent in the classroom will prepare future educators for student teaching and having their own classroom.  For those currently looking for teaching jobs, I highly suggest that they take every interview that crosses their path even if it’s the not the ideal job.  Each interview provides the experience necessary to get the job that is truly desired.  I recommend subbing and long-term subbing if possible.  I strongly believe that it is my long-term subbing experience that provided me with the skills and references that I needed to get my current job.”

-Written by: Jessica the Intern-


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There are many reasons I wanted to start profiling GOLD alumni – and Jessica W. has helped immensely in telling the stories of recent grads. Selfishly, it hasn’t been only been about sharing – it has been about learning. By familiarizing myself with the activities of recent grads, I’ve gained a better understanding of the common experiences and values of EMU graduates.

GOLD is not about age, it’s about common experiences. We’ve slowly removed our language about “young” alumni because it doesn’t reflect the age diversity present in the graduates of the last ten years. But while age may vary, all of these individuals are Eagles, saw Pray-Harrold detriorate (and now be renovated), and experienced EMU as a place of opportunity – an institution that could be the right place at the right time and be whatever it needed it to be for any given individual. Whether that was a residential campus, a commuter campus, a graduate school, a place to be involved or a place simply to get an education. The variety of Eastern experiences is a common thread for our alumni and students.

We will continue to explore the variety of Eastern stories and experiences that shape our alumni community. And, we will do it to share as well as learn.


(GOLD guy in the Office for Alumni Relations)

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Colleen Curran (BME05)

“In this world where constant change is inevitable, EMU has provided me with the skills, education and experience to SURVIVE.” This powerful statement was said by EMU’s free-spirited graduate Colleen Curran. Curran received her Bachelor’s of Music Education- Vocal in winter of 2005.

Curran belting it out

The former teacher (who taught in schools throughout Michigan for about 5 years)  just finished up her master’s program in Professional and School  counseling at CMU. Curran is now a self –employed musician.   While she still teaches private lesson for voice and piano, her main focus is on performing.  Curran does back-up vocals for Drew De Four (Her fiancé who she met at EMU). The couple also participate in what’s call “Dueling Pianos.”  Dueling consists of 2 pianos and 2 performers taking turns doing songs. Curran truly has a passion for music. “I’m gonna write as long as there are people to listen. That’s my contribution to society,” she says.  “It’s not about making it big, it’s just about sharing beautiful music.”  Curran and De Four travel across the country “sharing beautiful music” and will soon be traveling to Ireland and performing on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

To get where she is now Curran had to follow her heart and take risks, however, she also credits EMU for helping her succeed.  “I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t go there,” she said.  Curran was originally recruited to run track and field for the Eagles but didn’t really pursue the sport.  Curran was however involved in many campus activities such as the music and dance program, the University and Chamber Choir, Student Government, Gang Green, Leadershape, Eastern Idol,  Hip Hop Explosion, First Year Mentor Program, Vision Volunteering and New Student Orientation Assistants (NSOA). In fact NSOA is linked to one of her most memorable EMU moments. “I loved being an orientation leader and I really wanted to be on the O-Team ,” she said.  The O-Team is the student advisory board for the orientation program. Unfortunately, Curran missed her interview because she had wrote down the wrong time slot and was unable to be a part of O-Team. “It taught me a very valuable lesson about organization and being on time to everything,” Curran said. “Now I’m like an hour early to everything,” she added jokingly.

Curran making an impact on the lives of children

Curran loves teaching and counseling about as much as she love singing and songwriting.  “In the long run, as long as I’m doing one of those things I will be happy,” she said. To educators  and those looking for  teaching jobs,  Curran warns against selling yourself short or being to0 desperate for a job. “I know the economy is hard, but don’t take what you don’t want,” she says, “You will be overly stressed and it will limit your quality as a teacher, which is not good for you or the students.”

Curran’s future is looking quite promising, with her dueling tours coming up and her CD release in September; she sure has a lot on her hands.  She does all of this for one reason, to impact lives with things she is passionate about.  “I want to leave my mark on the world, whether it’s through music, counseling, teaching, being a daughter, being a sister, being an aunt, being a fiancé, being a wife, being a mother, being a grandmother or any other combination,” Curran said.  It sounds to me like she is heading in the right direction.

-Written By: Jessica the Intern-

Check out  Curran performing in the videos below:

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I haven’t really engaged in much “meta-blogging” on this site – I’ve been coaching Jessica W. in the creation of content and helping to share some stories of GOLD alumni. So though we’ve been creating content, it hasn’t truly been “blogging” – more like an online magazine. I want to take this opportunity to “meta-blog” and share some thoughts about the newly formed GOLD Council – a group that is an outgrowth of many conversations with recent grads.

What is the GOLD Council? The council is a think-tank, a programming board, an online community – it is a loosely structured, yet grassroots/fluid effort to improve EMU through alumni involvement. I’ve more clearly articulated a three point purpose to guide the group in the application documents but it is important to realize that the unique synergy of the “first 15” alumni involved will truly set the stage for future GOLD organizing.

Why should you get involved? This is a unique opportunity – one that yes, will help you network, meet people and build your resume – but it is far more. It’s being on the ground floor; it’s finding a new energy and love for EMU. It’s helping you explore your identity as an EMU graduate. Together, as graduates of the last ten years, we will help shape the future of EMU.

What is my role? I graduated in 2007 after having incredible opportunities at EMU. Now, here I am, working on behalf of this institution and positioned to better it. I want to guide, mentor, participate – I’m the staff person that can cut red-tape and help this group succeed.

I hope that you will join us and bring your enthusiasm, ideas and talents to the GOLD Council. Fill out an application today.

Visit: www.emich.edu/alumni/gold for an application and additional details.


Questions/Submit application to: dmathis@emich.edu

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Though she may have chose EMU because it was the perfect distance from her hometown and it had a surprisingly low cost, Rebecca Leevey (BS 01, MA 05), came to appreciate many of the added benefits of our fine institution. “The atmosphere was great at EMU and people knew you by name,” she says. Leevey received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Studies, minor in History from EMU and originally planned on being a social studies teacher.  A change of heart made her decide to pursuit a Master of Arts in Higher Education, with a concentration in Student Affairs from EMU.

Leevey (far right side with thethe Calumet College #32 Basketball jersey) with the USBC National Runner-Up Men’s Bowling team and members of our student organizations.

Leevey is now Assistant Director of Admissions at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Indiana. She is also the school’s Assistant Track and Field Coach and the Lake Effect/Pep Band Advisor. “I am also the super fan for all of the teams at the college,” Leevey boasts. To get where she is now Leevey put in a lot of hard work to learn about the world of higher education, which is constantly changing. She also owes some of her success to EMU “EMU helps you succeed because the faculty and staff cared about you and helped you in what you were going into,” said Leevey.

One of Leevey’s most memorable EMU moments was going to see EMU play Michigan State University at NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament in 1998. “Also, helping the women’s track and field team win three championships,” She proudly states.  Leevey was able to walk on and be a member of the women’s track and field team at EMU but she was also involved in organizations on campus. Leevey was a part of Phi Sigma PI, a founder of Noisy Eastern Spirit Troupe (NEST) which was the precursor for Gang Green, New Student Orientation Assistant (NSOA), Student Athletic Advisory Council (SAAC). She was even  the ‘97-‘98 representative for the 3rd and 4th floor for Hill Residence Hall.  “Being involved in athletics and student organizations helped me with my time management, leadership, and planning skills as well as working with others in a group environment.” Leevey said.

Clearly, Leevey was a very involved student in fact she says that’s one of the most important thing for students to do.  “That is what potential employers are looking at when hiring new employees,” she says, “Get to know other people on campus too like athletes, Greeks, etc. because in the end, they may end up being your closest friends.”   There were also some things that Leevey wanted to suggest to recent alumni in the higher education field. “Get to know the college or university as much as you can as well as the people in those offices. They will be the people that you will need to go to when you need help with a question or situation,”  she says, “Be visible and get to know the students on campus because they will come to you for advise or when they need someone to talk to about the hard times.”

Its good to see that in this economy EMU is producing more and more students that have the necessary skills to succeed. If you want to share your success story please contact us  and we will be a driving force that helps you do so.

-Written by: Jessica the Intern-

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What were the songs of EMU in 2002?

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