Alexis Syrette knew she wanted to attend a school in an area that had a strong connection to the Native American population.
Central Michigan University offered her not only that but also opportunities to gain real-world experience in her chosen field.
"Looking back, I applied to other schools but I'm glad I chose to come here rather than go anywhere else," Alexis said. "My life would have been so different."
The family studies major and youth studies minor hopes to find a career working with Native American youth. One of her biggest goals is outreach; she hopes to teach young Native Americans life skills, help them apply and get into college, and provide them with resources they might not otherwise have access to.
Alexis volunteers with the local Native American youth and an after-school program called PEAK.
In addition to the coursework for her major and minor, she also is working to complete CMU's American Indian Studies certificate.
Alexis' biggest successes on campus have been planning the annual powwow and the events of Native American Heritage Month.
"Helping educate the campus about Native American culture is something I love doing," she said.
Working in the Native American Programs office has helped her come out of her shell. Alexis has been able to give presentations, educate nonnative students and plan campus events like the powwow. She recognizes that not every campus or university is fortunate enough to one. Had she gone to another school, she wouldn't have met as many native students, Alexis said.
"I feel like I'm taking away a lot more than I expected. I'm taking away skills I didn't come to CMU with and experiences like working, volunteering and being able to impact the campus community," Alexis said. "I never thought I would have such a big impact teaching people and volunteering."