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Mascara and financial planning may not seem to mix, but to third-year Kalamazoo Promise student Maia Greer, the combination is just one example of the many ways Olivet College has positively influenced her life.

Olivet has offered Maia an impeccable education led by caring, dedicated professors. For Maia, Areerat “Poy” Lertchaipitak, Ph.D., assistant professor of business and financial planning, has made a big impact on her college experience. But one of her most memorable moments with the professor has nothing to do with academics.

“One day Poy pulled me aside after class,” Maia said. “She handed me a tube of mascara and told me she’d received a free makeup kit. She knew I wore mascara and thought I’d use it more than she would. It was the sweetest thing.

“Poy wants to see me succeed. She pushes me every day and is always there for me. She’s one of those professors I could call at 9 p.m. with a homework question and she’d help me. It’s good to have someone in your corner, and she is definitely in my corner.”

Program with a Purpose

In addition to the relationship-based education, Maia’s passion for finance led her to Olivet. She took a business finance class in high school and enjoyed the financial aspects but also wanted to connect with clients more personally. Olivet’s financial planning program fit the bill.

“I want to help people reach their financial goals. I want to make sure people’s families are protected in case of an emergency and also help them plan for retirement,” Maia said. “I want to be that person who helps others figure out their goals and helps them reach them.”

As a financial planning major, she is also involved in the Society of Financial Service Professionals (FSP). This spring she is looking forward to attending the Financial ConNEXTion cruise hosted by the society. There, she and other students will network with professionals, attend classes and presentations and also explore tropical Haiti and Jamaica. In the past, students have been offered internships or jobs on the spot. Maia already has a job lined up after graduation as a financial representative at Primerica, a company that offers insurance and financial services, but she’s still excited for the opportunities the cruise may offer.

Taking the Lead

Back on campus, Maia is involved in plenty of extracurricular activities. As a member of the President’s Leadership Institute, she has enjoyed learning about the different ways to be a leader.

“Not everyone is the same type of leader, but everyone has the potential to become a leader,” she said. “You just have to have a vision and people to inspire to get on board.”

Similarly, Maia cherished the leadership skills gained from her membership in the Women’s Leadership Institute last year. With each session, she learned more about herself and her capacity as a leader. She still attends meetings this year because she’s excited to continue growing professionally.

Maia also works as a tour guide for the admissions office, a position she finds both rewarding and engaging.

“I love getting to know prospective students,” she said. “I try to give them a better idea of what it’s like to be a student here. A campus tour can make or break a prospective student’s decision. It’s really important that we do our job well and offer these students a warm welcome.”

Conquering the Day

Thanks to the Kalamazoo Promise and her hard work at OC, Maia’s dream of helping others financially is starting to become a reality. As a Kalamazoo Promise recipient, Maia had the opportunity to attend a variety of Michigan colleges, but for her, Olivet was the obvious choice.

“My first tour here was really impactful,” she said. “I felt welcome before I even started college here. Olivet felt very homey to me. Here we’re one big family. That, along with my interest in financial planning, drew me in right away.”

Three years later, Maia is taking her final steps toward graduation.

“I had my senior audit, and that was very important to me since I’m trying to graduate early,” Maia said. “Having that meeting, I realized I’m going to do it. I’m actually going to graduate early. It proves that if you make a way and try your best and have people in your corner, you really can succeed.”

With 22 credits and many other obligations on her plate this semester, Maia is grateful for the numerous opportunities Olivet has offered her. Despite her busy schedule, she’s still excited and grateful to be here each day.

“Every day I wake up tired, but I still think ‘let’s go conquer the day!’” Maia joked.

And with the combination of her education at Olivet and her own personal success, there’s no doubt she’ll soon be conquering the world as well.

Learn more about Olivet College and programs available to students — like financial planning, insurance and risk management, criminal justice, and the natural and physical sciences — by scheduling a campus visit. Contact the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu with questions.

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