The Honors Program is full of exceptional leaders, students, and community contributors, but the 2015 Outstanding Scholar Michelle Dunn has continuously exemplified all of the qualities over her four years at Ferris.
Each year, about 10-15 senior Honors students are invited to apply for the Outstanding Scholar award based on their GPA. They then submit a cover letter and curriculum vitae, and a committee of Ferris faculty and Honors staff selects 4-5 finalists to be interviewed by the committee, who then reach a consensus on a winner.
“These students are all so remarkable,” said Honors Advisor Charles Malone. “This is the hardest decision I participate in each year. To be nominated or a finalist represents a long record of truly outstanding achievement. To distinguish one’s self from this group is really an accomplishment.”
Michelle, who will be graduating in May with a Bachelor’s in biology, has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA all throughout her undergrad education.
“I enjoy my classes, so it wasn’t too hard,” she said. “I love learning and applying what I learn, and figuring out how things work is really interesting to me—It’s not all about memorizing it and getting the grade.”
Originally from the small town of Goodrich, Michelle will be taking her talents to East Lansing in the fall to study at Michigan State’s College of Veterinary Medicine in hopes of specializing in research or small animal orthopedics.
“I’m excited, honestly,” Michelle said of the prospect of being only weeks away from graduating from Ferris.
“I’ve made a lot of relationships here at Ferris and I’m going to miss what I’ve built here, but at the same time, I’m excited for something new and to really start learning specific to my interests.”
The Honors Program requires students to hold a leadership position sometime during their experience, but Michelle’s involvement is above and beyond, as she currently holds three. Not only is she the vice president of the FSU Pre-Veterinary club, she’s also the president of PetSavers and Ferris’ chapter of the Golden Key International Honor Society. On top of all that and maintaining a 4.0, Michelle helps other students through her jobs as a tutor and a Structured Learning Assistant Facilitator.
Even more mind blowing is the fact that Michelle also somehow found the time to complete 454 service hours in four years.
“I regularly volunteer at the Animal Rescue Coalition of Mecosta County,” Michelle said. “I love it there. I really enjoy working with animals and it’s something that brings me such joy. Seeing a dog come in in really rough shape and un-socialized and then working with them to bring them back to health, and seeing them when they’re adopted is such a great thing.”
Michelle said that “broadening her horizons” is something she’s taken away from her time and experiences in Honors.
“It forced me to start getting involved and get my feet in the water, but after that, it was kind of fun,” she said. “It also encourages you to keep your grades up and the cultural events open up your eyes to the different possibilities out there.”
Though it’s evident to an outsider why Michelle is a worthy candidate for Outstanding Scholar, her remarkable and humble nature became apparent when she said she “honestly didn’t think they were going to choose [her].”
“Yeah, I’ve been involved, but I didn’t think I’ve done anything super spectacular,” she said. “Most of the time, it’s been here, around Ferris. But just making yourself involved, whether it be going to a foreign country and volunteering or just helping out in the community around you, is helpful either way.”
And that’s what sets many Honors students apart and makes them so outstanding—the fact that they don’t realize their daily activities are benefiting themselves and others so much. Going the extra mile is average to them, and Michelle is one of the best of these inspirational students.
Congratulations, Michelle, and thank you for representing the Honors Program in such an exceptional way. Good luck at Michigan State!