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Emmalee Yates, a recent 2020 graduate, was unsure of what her college journey would bring her. She knew she wanted to be at a small college, but she wasn’t sure which school was the best fit. Her choice to attend Olivet College was solidified after spending ILTs traveling the world and doing extraordinary things. Looking back, she describes her time at Olivet College as an adventure.

“I had attended a couple of volleyball camps on campus while in high school, but I never thought about attending Olivet,” Emmalee said. “The volleyball coach at OC had contacted me about coming for a recruiting visit. I knew I wanted to go to a small school and after spending the day at Olivet College, I fell in love with the campus and realized this was where I wanted to go.

During my freshman orientation I sat down with one of the professors of the insurance and risk management program, and he told me about all the opportunities there are in the insurance industry and how great the insurance program was,” Emmalee said. “When I decided to come to Olivet, I really had no idea what I wanted to do or what I wanted to major in. After that talk, I knew that insurance and risk management was the program I wanted to be in. The things that really stood out to me about this program were the opportunities, the networking and the successful job placement.”

Emmalee finished her senior year by earning the Charles M. Trubac Insurance Senior Award during Honors Week. “I never expected this award; it means so much. Although it wasn’t the senior year we were all looking forward to, I am so thankful to receive this award to end the year,” she said.

During her time at OC, Emmalee was involved in many extracurricular activities as well, including clubs, athletics, student organizations and Greek life. “I played volleyball my first two years at Olivet, but I realized that I wanted to get more involved in the insurance program. I was a member of Gamma Iota Sigma since my first semester at Olivet, and I was even the chief reporting and recording officer. I wanted to be more involved and have a leadership position in Gamma Iota Sigma because it was a great opportunity to grow as a student and in the insurance industry.”

In addition, Emmalee took advantage of every service and travel experience she could get while at OC.

“One thing I am most thankful for at Olivet College was the opportunity to travel and the experiences I had while doing it,” Emmalee said. “Once I stepped out of my comfort zone, I saw there was so much more to this world than  what I thought. I was able to travel to places I had never been and do things I never imagined doing. It’s very cliche, but you are only in college for a short time, so you don’t want to look back and feel like you missed out.”

During Emmalee’s first year she took the outdoor recreation Intensive Learning Term (ILT) course, and the class went to West Virginia where students experienced white water rafting and hiking. During her sophomore year, Emmalee traveled to Turks and Caicos with the volleyball team, her first time out of the country. Junior year was an insurance ILT to Europe where she spent time in London, Dublin and Paris. Emmalee also traveled to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Texas through other service trips and with Gamma Iota Sigma. Finally, Emmalee also went on a class trip to Thailand in December 2019, leaving a strong passion for travel ingrained in Emmalee.

“We visited a county on the other side of the world,” she said. “This trip was so eye-opening for me. We were able to experience so many things that we never would have in the United States.”

Emmalee has spent time around the world and seen great monuments of history and culture in just four years — many that others do not see in a lifetime. She is grateful for these opportunities and the entire Olivet College experience in shaping her outlook on life.

“I think there is just so much to offer at Olivet College,” Emmalee emphasized. “It wasn’t until I got to college that I really enjoyed going to class and learning more. And I think this has made me a better student. I leave a huge shout out to the insurance program and Gamma Iota Sigma. Those two things have made me into the person I am today. I have been able to accomplish things I never thought I could.”

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

This feature was written by rising junior Chad Enwright, Marketing and Multi-Media Student Associate. He is a resident adviser, member of the football team, chief recruitment officer for Phi Beta Lambda and a business administration major who aspires to invent and operate his own high-tech, home security and automation business.

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