Extended Version

Hi there! Great to connect. My name is Lynn. I’m a yogi, a mom of three and a grad school coach to some amazing students at Central Michigan University. I’ve been working with low income, first generation, underrepresented students for the past ten years and I love my work! I think it’s totally kick-ass cool that I get to help my students envision their future and take the steps necessary to make things happen. It’s really a dream job come true – and I really just fell into it – which is the CRAZY thing about it.

The truth is, I’ve felt lost and stuck for most of my life. I always did well in school (chalk that up to being type-A and first born?) but I’m also a first generation college student and so I didn’t really have much guidance by way of planning for and developing a career. So when I started college, I just studied things that I thought were cool. You know, things like Russian history, Chinese culture, international affairs, cultural anthropology. I never really thought about what kind of a career these things might lead to.

I came out with some really awesome experiences – like living in China for a semester and traveling in Central America (and doing an air band to 90201 – don’t ask) – but I felt lost in terms of what I was supposed to do next. I didn’t feel qualified to anything really, so I thought, I must need some more school. I could get an internship or something while I apply to grad school. Since there are a ton of internships in DC, I targeted DC. Working for a non-profit would be cool and I could, hopefully, further narrow my interests.

I ended up getting a paid internship with Physicians for Social Responsibility – but what’s funny is how I got myself out there. My Dad, a fireman for the City of Milwaukee for like 35 years, basically goes to the firehouse and asks the guys, “Who wants to drive my daughter out to DC.” Yep! So, there happened to be a “taker” – Dave was his name (I think) and he had this little sporty red car and I packed up what I could fit and off we went. I remember getting there late late at night and going and sitting on the steps of Lincoln Memorial and having a beer. One of those moments, you gotta pinch yourself.

Loved DC, learned a lot about the Hill and how things get done or not. Too bad I was super timid and didn’t have the confidence to really take the experience and make something out of it. It also didn’t help me “narrow” my interests, per se, but it did help confirm my interest in environment-related issues. Just like with college, I didn’t know how to go about applying to grad school (which is why it’s SO ironic that I’m currently in the business of helping students figure out this process) so I just sorta fumbled around.

I distinctly remember walking around the city with my vocabulary flashcards studying for the GRE. I also had my good friend Nina working non-stop with me on my personal statement. As for the programs I targeted – didn’t have a clue about how to be smart here and I didn’t even understand the difference between professionally oriented graduate degrees and research oriented graduate degrees. Turns out that I applied to some “somewhat random” but environment-related programs such as Indiana University’s master’s program in Public and Environmental Affairs. I think Duke and NC State were on the list but that I didn’t actually apply.

I have a pretty eclectic background—-I’ve always tended to be that interdisciplinary girl unwilling (or unable rather?) to settle in to just one choice or interest. As far as academics go, I’m a first generation college student