All Spotlights » Alumni Success Story - Carrie Uthe
Nontraditional Student, Carrie Uthe, graduated in 2010 with a Liberal Studies Degree.
Name: Carrie Uthe
Degree/Major: Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies
Class Year: 2010
Hometown: Spring Lake, MI
Current Employer/Position: Lakeshore Health Network Affiliated with Mercy HealthPartners; MSO/Provider Relations Specialist
What campus did you attend? What drew you to the liberal studies major there?
Holland. I was looking for an opportunity to go back to school. I have 4 children, am married, and was working so it could be complicated. I got a letter from Grand Valley that was looking for new, nontraditional students and the letter really hit home. They worked with me and we were able to develop a curriculum around my passions and interests, so that really sold me on the program. I had already started a second degree in business and marketing years before and had stopped to have a family. This provided me the opportunity to go back.
What did you like most about the program?
The collaboration that brings the different entities together. In liberal studies you take in everyone’s perspective in order to take in a new idea. For me, in my personal life, I do that everyday. It is about considering different ideas, cultures, forms of education, and perceptions. No longer is there just one way to look at something.
What was your emphasis area and how did you choose the courses to complete it?
I took the courses that I already had with business and marketing and integrated them with my health care experience. So I have it in business and health care administration.
How did your liberal studies degree and emphasis area prepare you for your current career?
My education really was more of an enhancement for me. It took a skill set I had, bringing groups together for collaboration and integration, and reinforced that. I already had a job when I went back to school, but it reinforced what I knew and helped me build upon it to be more successful.
What post-graduation accomplishment are you especially proud of?
I would say the Muskegon Area Medication Disposal Program. During my last semester at school we had to put together a program, I took the idea and brought it to fruition. At that time there was nowhere in the area for people to return their medication safely. This program incinerates the drugs so they don’t simply get flushed down the toilet or left in the trash. This process creates steam and produces electricity so it is very environmentally sustainable as well. The program is very rewarding and successful. Initially, after the first collection event, we came up with idea to do five events in 2010. But, the response was so great we realized there needed to be daily programming. Seven retail pharmacies in Muskegon counties take back meds now through our organization.
Would you recommend a liberal studies major to prospective GVSU students? Why?
Most certainly. It is a study that encompasses many different areas. I think that other curriculums could look at liberal studies and learn from it. For example, doctors or engineers never take a business class or a marketing class, but these areas will impact their daily lives after school. With liberal studies you get the bigger picture about what to expect when you are done with school. It broadens your vision and lessons the shock value when out of school. I’ve been very pleased with my education, especially coming back at this time in my life. I would encourage anyone to go to school. It is doable. I did it.