Central Michigan University degrees prepare graduates for a lifetime of success, starting with their first decade after commencement.
Each year, the 10 Within 10 alumni awards program honors exceptional achievements within a decade of CMU graduation. This year's honorees represent medicine, interior design, government, public relations and more.
On the Alumni Relations website, each of the 10 honorees shared their reflections on their time at CMU and their careers.
Here are their replies to the question, "What advice would you give to new grads?"
Dr. Nicholas Cozzi
"Write one handwritten letter of gratitude to someone who has made a personal or professional impact on you. Mail it. Repeat daily. Doctor's orders."
Dr. Nicholas Cozzi is an emergency medicine resident physician at Spectrum Health/Michigan State. He graduated from CMU's College of Medicine in 2018 with a degree in allopathic medicine. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
"While it might feel like you need to have all your next steps figured out upon graduating, remember that you still have your whole life ahead of you! Now's the time to take chances, make a big move and be open to making mistakes."
Caitlin Demsky is an assistant professor of management in the School of Business Administration at Oakland University. She graduated in 2010, having majored in psychology and English. She lives in Ferndale, Michigan.
"If you're not scared, you're not doing it right. Success stems from allowing yourself to be uncomfortable. Being nervous and being excited are actually the same feeling, so don't allow nerves to keep you from growing in your career."
Autumn Fuchs is owner of Fuchsia Design, a full-service interior design firm. She earned her degree in interior design in 2010 and lives in Grand Rapids.
"Whether it's people in your chosen industry, the friends you made at CMU or your family, surround yourself with good people. These people will be there for you when you need a push to be better, to build you back up after a rough day and to celebrate the small wins as well as the life-changing moments. Going through life without these people would not be as fulfilling."
Mike Greene is assistant city manager and community development director for the city of Saline, Michigan, where he lives. He earned his degree in business administration in 2013.
"Be a seeker of knowledge, a lifelong learner. Find a mentor. Give back. Never settle."
Ryan Heeke is an associate with RBC Capital Markets asset-backed securities syndicate. He earned degrees in mathematics and finance in 2015 and 2016. He lives in New York City.
"Be patient and trust the process. Life is truly different once you leave good ol' Mount Pleasant and enter the "real world." However, please know everything happens for a reason, and the Lord will not give you more than you can handle. Have faith in the plans you create, execute them with precision, and trust that your successes and accomplishments will come in due time."
LaMarcus Howard is associate director of the Disability Resource Center. He earned his degree in social work in 2009 and his Master of Arts degree in educational leadership in 2012. He lives in Belleville, Michigan.
"Take risks and challenge yourself. Do things you've never done before. Go to places that are new and uncomfortable. Venture into uncharted territory knowing that even when things seem uncertain, your education has equipped you for anything that may come your way."
John Ketchum is managing producer for a podcast from Vox Media. He majored in broadcast and cinematic arts and earned his degree in 2011. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
"I would encourage new graduates to consider careers as a collection of learning events rather than a linear path of checkboxes or milestones. Venture on your own path, and you will face your own challenges. Embrace those unique opportunities and resist comparing your experience to others."
Danielle Leone is director of branding and communications for North America with Faurecia Clean Mobility, a global leader in automotive technologies. She earned her degree in integrative public relations in 2010 and lives in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.
"There is no better time to hustle than now. Not everyone has a high level of focus and drive; leverage your momentum of transitioning with energy and excitement into the world of work and build a strong foundation for your career and self to grow from. Don't forget to use your voice to share your ideas and feedback. Don't forget to use your ears to listen to those who have opinions and experiences that are different than yours. Lastly, don't forget to listen to your gut and stay true to your values and who you are."
Courtney Stanley owns Courtney Stanley Consulting and works as a keynote speaker, podcaster and career success coach. She earned her degree in recreation, parks and leisure services administration in 2011 and lives in Grand Rapids.
"Find your purpose, put together a solid support group and take risks. Even when you take risks and fail, the knowledge you gain makes you that much more valuable."
Jeffrey Steigerwald is vice president of private-duty nursing and home rehabilitation at Centria Healthcare, a leading home care company. He earned his degree in international business and Spanish in 2010 and lives in Royal Oak, Michigan.