We are a positive, creative and forward-thinking team eager to help every CMU student transform their hopes and dreams into reality during the successful completion of their degree.
Success Coaching Team
Darcy Beavan, Success Coach
A graduate of Michigan State University, Darcy now calls CMU home. Through professional moves and changes in her career, Darcy is living proof that education opens doors to new opportunity. Whether she was working at Ford Motor Company or Davenport University, she was always promoting the value of education.
Away from work, Darcy enjoys biking, skiing and walking. A huge fan of color, she loves art, design and decorating.
Darcy's advice about learning: Realize that learning requires a willingness to be bad at something for a while.
Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you are usually right.
– Henry Ford
Amanda Buzard, Success Coach - CEHS Initiatives
As an alum and coach, Amanda bleeds maroon and gold! She has a deep passion for helping others and enjoys learning the strengths of each person she meets. When you meet her, you can expect encouragement and challenges that help create positive momentum.
When she's away from the office, you can find Amanda and her husband, Blake, at a CMU sporting event or playing with their dog, Bailey.
Amanda's advice for exploring: Don't be afraid to explore; sometimes life will open doors for you that you never knew existed. Go through those doors with passion, enthusiasm and an open mind and you will surely find success!
Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
– Howard Thurman
Alex Chouinard, Success Coach
From Milford, Michigan, Alex is a CMU graduate and now calls Mount Pleasant home. When you talk with Alex, you will quickly sense that he wants you to pursue passion and never let obstacles discourage progress.
Outside of coaching, Alex enjoys traveling, eating at new restaurants, watching movies and exploring nature. He loves to spend time with his family – especially his three nephews.
Alex's advice for creating priority: Getting your degree should be your number one priority in college. There is certainly room for other passions, but if you focus on completing your degree and doing well, nothing can stop you!
The only thing that is going to stop you from succeeding is yourself.
Elizabeth Daum, Success Coach
Elizabeth (you can call her Liz) is a CMU graduate with a Bachelors of Social Work. Her path to a degree was full of unexpected twists, turns, stops and starts. Drawing on these experiences, Liz helps students realize their gifts and talents in order to succeed no matter what life throws their way.
When she's not working with students, Liz enjoys adventures with her husband and daughters. They enjoy being outside, trying new foods, practicing yoga and entertaining friends and family.
Liz's advice for stepping up: Take control of your CMU experience. Ask questions. Search out resources. Join organizations. Volunteer. Ask for help. There are infinite resources available. Just ask.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
– Dalai Lama
Sydney Davis, Success Coach - CHP Initiatives
Prior to her work at CMU, Sydney studied Positive Psychology at Olivet College where she envisioned a future career as a life coach. She knows what it feels like to change your mind several times during college and she experienced firsthand how life can unfold along an unexpected path.
After graduating, she worked for a non-profit while continuing to pursue ways to positively help others achieve their goals.
Talk to Sydney today about her work as a coach and she'll tell you she loves the privilege of helping CMU students discover what's possible. To her, college is one giant learning experience filled with opportunities to explore, make mistakes, learn, and find something that makes your heart catch fire with passion.
Sydney's advice for living with purpose: We spend much of our lives being asked, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" Sometimes the pressures of knowing where your life is going to lead can feel insurmountable. I challenge you to be patient, to stay curious, and to find something that makes you live for the day – not for the weekend. If you pursue something you love, it makes the journey so much better.
I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?', and whenever the answer has been 'no' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
– Steve Jobs
Lori Driessnack, Success Coach
Born and raised near CMU, Lori completed college at Michigan State University and then, moved to Columbia, South Carolina where she worked in Public Relations.
Lori jokes that her family planted a giant magnet in Mount Pleasant to draw her back home for the adventure of a lifetime. When Lori and her husband, Tim, returned, they worked with CMU students to open the city's first coffee house. For nearly 20 years, Lori and Tim ran the University Cup (U-Cup) coffee house with the help of more than 100 student employees.
Lori's advice for healthy risk taking: Take and learn from all aspects of your life, the successes and the failures. Now is the time to take risks and go for it!!
Sometimes good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
– Charles Martin
Jeff Keson, Success Coach
An alum of CMU, Jeff spent his time as an undergraduate involved with academic clubs, volunteering as a lab assistant in the photo dark room and working with the Leadership Safari Program. Jeff completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography at CMU and then, moved to Grand Valley State University where he finished a Master of Arts in Education.
When he's not in his office, Jeff enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring nature, reading and juggling multiple hobbies.
Jeff’s advice for enjoying college: Use this time to explore what life has to offer and dare greatly! No where else will you be surrounded by 20,000 people your same age, going through the same experience and figuring out their future.
If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you will find a way.
– Jane Goodall
Patrick Theisen, Success Coach
Originally from Mount Pleasant, Pat ventured just down the road to attend Alma College where he studied History before returning to CMU. Coaching others to reach their peak performance is in his blood. In fact, when Pat isn't in the office, you will find him in the gym working with the boys varsity basketball team at Sacred Heart Academy.
On the weekends, Pat enjoys spending time with his family and friends, attending Notre Dame football games and walking dogs at the local animal shelter.
Patrick's advice for college success: "Study hard but make time to get out and explore."
If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?
– Vince Lombardi
Cory Woodard, Success Coach
Cory, a proud CMU alum, spent much of his undergraduate years participating in various student groups, working, and interacting with students in his role as a Resident Assistant in Robinson Hall. Cory completed his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. He moved to Arizona to teach and complete a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University.
Outside of the office, you will find Cory at a local golf course, bowling alley, or at the lake with his wife and family.
Cory's advice: Get involved! Get involved with activities or groups that stretch your comfort zone. You may never get another chance to experience these again. Take full advantage of what CMU offers to help you both personally and professionally.
If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.
Ashleigh Begres, Success Coach - CBA Initiatives
Originally from Mt. Pleasant, Ashleigh returned to her hometown to pursue her dream of working in higher education. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Education, she spent four years as a dedicated Spanish teacher, advisor, coach, and mentor to high school students in both rural Michigan and inner city Chicago. Ashleigh also gained experience working at a community college while pursuing her M.Ed. in Higher Education degree at Grand Valley State University.
Ashleigh loves to travel and has experience living in an international setting after studying abroad in both Spain and the Dominican Republic. In her personal time, Ashleigh enjoys painting, hiking, cooking, and especially exploring the world!
Ashleigh’s advice for staying on track: Set realistic goals and realize that they are works in progress. Try to surround yourself with positive people that will build you up and support your dreams. Remember that the elevator to success can sometimes be out of order – it just means you have to take the stairs…one step at a time.
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
CJ Yerington, Success Coach - CCFA Initiatives
BIO Coming Soon!
Chelsea Belote, Assistant Director - Success Coaching & Educational Initiatives
Gina Fogelsonger, Manager of Enrollment Information Services
Jeff Hyames, Assistant Director - Peer Coaching & eCampaigns
Kate Krueger, Communications Coordinator
Dr. Jason Bentley, Director
Office of Student Success
230 Ronan Hall | (989) 774-3401 |email@example.com