Meet 2022 Grad: Kelly Thalmann

Kelly Thalman

“I’m an adult learner. I dropped out of high school and did not take school seriously when I first went to college. I later decided to go back to do something for me and prove to my four kids I could do something more. In addition to college, I’m balancing being a mom, going to dance competitions and soccer games. I’ve been working so hard to get my GPA up and did it! I am graduating in May and sometimes say to myself, ‘Wait, is this for real?’ I know if I can do this, others can too!" - Kelly Thalmann

Major: Associate in General Studies and Associate in Arts 
Student Involvement/Honors: Student recruiter; Peer Mentor for Peer Mentor Program; and Conversation Partner Program.

Q: During your time at OCC have any of your goals or plans changed? 
A: I wanted to be a physical therapist, then a nutritionist. Now I want to work in public health. My end goal is to work in higher education with young adults who are on a dangerous path of not completing school because of my involvement as student recruiter and the love and care shown by OCC’s Admissions Team. 

Q: What are you most proud of? 
A: I’m proud to be an OCC alumni. There’s a huge stigma with community colleges that students are slackers who can’t get into a university. That’s not the case. OCC is an incredible place to be. There are so many things offered from different languages to clubs to scholarships. 

Q: What does this milestone (graduation day) mean to you? 
A: It means everything to me. I worked two jobs when our first daughter was born and quit to stay home after my other two daughters were born because we couldn’t afford childcare. I suffered from depression because I wanted something more than being a mom. After my son was born, I took a summer class at OCC and got an A. I never thought I would get to this point and be asked to serve as a Student Marshal at graduation. 

Q: What kind of support have you received from faculty? 
A: Professor Sarah Lemelin suggested student recruiting for me and wrote a letter of recommendation. I wouldn’t be a student recruiter if she didn’t see in me what I didn’t see at the time. My Counselor Ed Stotts has also been very helpful. 

Q:What are the next steps for you after leaving OCC? 
A: Working full time and studying public health part time at the University of Michigan-Flint or Oakland University. I’m also hoping to still be involved with the Admissions Department recruitment program. 

Q: What would you like to say to your fellow graduates? 
A: Be proud of what you’ve done. This was no small feat during a pandemic. This is an accomplishment you will take with you everywhere you go for the rest of your life.