Countdown to Commencement: Kelsey Griffin

After this Sunday’s commencement, Kelsey Griffin can say she has two Heidelberg degrees, and she earned them both in four years.

“I wanted more out of my college experience,” she says.

Kelsey found Heidelberg because she was looking for someplace different. While all her friends were picking state schools in Michigan, Kelsey decided to choose a different path. She wanted a place where she could do more, be more and accomplish more.

“I fell in love with the fit and family feel of Heidelberg,” she says. “It was so welcoming.”

Her four years here in Tiffin have been non-stop. As an undergrad, Kelsey was involved in several student organizations, the Honors Program as well as working both on-campus and off-campus jobs. She completed not one, but two undergrad majors – criminology and psychology – in three years.

“I came in with credits, but I never even thought about graduating early until my advisor, Dr. Marc O’Reilly, said something to me,” Kelsey says

In order to complete everything for her two majors, she took summer classes and filled her schedule every semester. Growing up, Kelsey was fascinated with criminal law and wanted to work in federal law enforcement. She credits her professors with helping her discover and explore new ideas.

“I liked my data science classes with Dr. Pete Martini. He and Dr. Ginny Gregg encouraged me to explore other career options,” she says.

After an internship with the Detroit Police Department, she made her decision – she wanted to go to grad school. But she wasn’t exactly sure where. As she was deciding, she talked to her dad, who owns a local business, about getting an MBA. Knowing that she could earn one tuition-free through Heidelberg's PlusOneAdvantage® helped her make the decision.

“I wasn’t sure where this would fit in my career, but I knew it was important,” she says.

Kelsey felt prepared to tackle the MBA program because she’d kept such a rigorous schedule as an undergrad. Her biggest challenge was adjusting to thinking like a business student instead of a social scientist, but she was eager to tackle the curriculum.

“All of the faculty were helpful in making the program work for me,” she says.

While Kelsey isn’t heading into a traditional business setting, the skills she’s learned through the PlusOneAdvantage® program – from decision-making to teamwork – will help her throughout her career.

“The world is shifting. This degree gives me a leg up in the workplace,” she says. “I’m sure I’ll need to give presentations, work with a team, and someday I might be presented with a management position. I knew this degree would shape who I was in a professional setting.”

“I’ve learned to articulate to other people ‘I’m valuable, and this is why.’”

Kelsey will be adding yet another degree behind her name. This fall she’ll start a five-year Ph.D. program in sociology at the University of South Carolina. She’ll study facets of criminology and statistics, which complement her studies at Heidelberg perfectly, uniquely combining her social science undergrad with her master’s degree. She’s hoping to someday work for the U.S. Department of Justice in policy reform.

“I’m really excited to see where I can go,” she says.

While she realized the challenge in front of her, Kelsey is confident in her ability to meet it. She has been in contact with other students in her upcoming Ph.D. cohort and she noticed the edge Heidelberg gave her.

“Heidelberg exposed me to what I needed. I was surprised by what the other students hadn’t had experience with.”

When she was looking for graduate schools, she found herself leaning toward programs that emulated the personal relationships she’d found at Heidelberg.

“I found myself gravitating toward more intimate departments that worked well together,” she says. “Heidelberg showed me how important personal connections can be. That’s not something you get everywhere.”

Kelsey is not only leaving with two degrees, but also with confidence in her skill set and the support of a community behind her.

“I felt truly cared about here. That’s the spirit of Heidelberg.”

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