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Rising senior Marrissa Pritchard’s resume is running out of room — in the best way possible. As a psychology major and gerontology minor, Marrissa has customized her college experience, matched with extracurricular involvement in nine different organizations. She’s a leader on campus, enjoys close relationships with mentors and peers and is confident in her future.

“I’m from Hartford, which, like Olivet, is a very small town,” Marrissa said. “I graduated with about 60 other students in 2017, and the closer I got to graduating, I still didn’t know where I was going to end up. I graduated near the top of my class and had so much pressure to go to college. Education is something I hold very close to my heart, so I knew I wanted to continue; I just didn’t know where. In my junior year, Jared Stratz, director of admissions, did a visit to my high school, and from there, the rest is history. I visited and fell in love with  Olivet. It gave me the homey vibes I needed when looking for my next step in life.”

Once Marrissa settled on campus, she says it was only natural to get involved. She started with Pysch Club, a club relevant to her major, and the Global Citizen Honors Program before branching out into Greek life, service learning and even helping found the Olivet Gerontology Club. The full list looks like this:

  1. Psych Club, past president
  2. Global Citizen Honors Program
  3. Alpha Lambda Epsilon, Pledge Class 2019
  4. Optimist International, charter president
  5. Gerontology Club, founding president
  6. Psi Chi
  7. Difference Makers
  8. Student Government Association, Greek representative
  9. Mentor Collective

Marrissa has learned something new from each one of her membership opportunities, but her experiences in Greek life and founding a new club especially stand out.

“Alpha Lambda Epsilon is the only co-ed Greek society at Olivet,” Marrissa explained. “I joined my sophomore year after countless days and nights of feeling safe and at home within the walls of the house. The actives of Alpha E are the most welcoming and caring people I’ve ever met, and pledging will always be one of my best decisions I ever made. It has given me so many connections and so many great friends and family.

I also am the founding president of the Gerontology Club here at Olivet. Gerontology is the study of aging, and a lot of people have never heard of the word before. It’s a new and growing field. With the help of Professor Kate Jones and my classmates, we formed the club to educate the community on the growing needs of the elderly, as well as ways to help the elderly in our community and surrounding communities.”

Marrissa wasn’t always interested in gerontology, beginning her college journey in a different direction. After deciding she hadn’t found the right fit, Marrissa set out to find her true calling.

“I came in as a double major in psychology and criminal justice (CJ),” Marrissa said. “By my second semester, the psych department had stolen my heart. I dropped CJ in search of something I was more passionate about and somehow found myself in the front row of Professor Jones’s class. It was a gerontology class, one of the first taught at Olivet. Within minutes I knew I wanted to continue. My career goals are still evolving, but I know I want to work with elders who struggle with the challenges of mental illness. My end goal is to be a case manager for this group of people. I want to make treatment plans and oversee the results, outcomes and strategies.”

Marrissa credits her professors and advisers in contributing to her academic and extracurricular success, marking another one of her favorite things about OC.

“The relationships I have with my professors, advisers and the staff at Olivet are so unbelievably genuine,” she said. “I never once thought I would be as close to these people as I am. I always thought I would be just a name on a list, but at Olivet, it’s way more than that. Each person is just that — a person. We all matter. The relationships I have with my professors are built on mutual respect and trust, and I could not be happier to have them behind me as I continue into my future. This campus is the embodiment of family, and I truly feel at home here.”

Marrissa ended her junior year by earning three awards during Honors Week: the Stu Parsell Endowed Alumni Scholarship, the Women’s Board Scholarship and the Student Engagement Award for Junior Leadership.

“My experience as a Comet has shaped every part of me,” Marrissa said. “I would not be who I am today without the experiences Olivet has given me. I met my best friends at Olivet, and they have aided so much in my development. Olivet tests you to go above and beyond the benchmark. This College makes you want to Be More and Do Good.”

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

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