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Graduate Profile: Michelle J. Griffin

Degree Information

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Major(s): Psychology

Minor(s): Sociology

Commencement slide

Extended information

Why did you choose Columbia College?

Columbia College became my choice to pursue my educational career for several reasons including at the time I lived in northern Illinois and the campus was very close to my job and home making getting to classes very convenient. As the school grew and evolved, it allowed for online classes which made transitioning through my career, home changes and moving to Florida seamless as I continued to pursue my goals. I am glad to have had an opportunity to pursue my educational career through an organization that was started during a time of breaking away from slavery and to give women the right to education in 1855 even while the majority of Missouri was pro-slavery. In 1970 Columbia College Missouri opened its doors to coed education. This is significant to my life as well because I was born to a multi-racial mother and a white father in the late sixties when interracial dating was not yet lawful. Both my parents had not finished school above junior high. As my life began to unfold, my father became incarcerated when I was 18 months old and my mother met a man who would abuse me for a number a years to come. I was pulled out of kindergarten and did not return to school as we moved often. I became a closet child with little to no interaction. Eventually ending up in state’s custody my foster family made sure I was ready at age nine to begin second grade. I love the history behind this wonderful college because equally my history sought to keep me uneducated and enslaved by ignorance but like the college I had people who stood up for me and poured into my life so that I too could be successful.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to pursue a career helping children reach their greatest potential, to realize they are valuable, they are worthy, they too matter and they have choices.

What was your favorite course, and why?

My favorite courses were my Psychology courses for my major of course but my ultimate favorite were Educational Psychology,Development Through The Lifespan and Psychology Applied to Modern Life. It was through these courses that I had many "Ah Ha" moments as Oprah would say. It was through these courses that I realized I actually know something about human kind and what a liberating process it has been to finally come to that point.

Is there anyone you would like to thank?

I am ever thankful to my creator – God for placing me on this earth at the right time, choosing the biological parents to whom I was born, to go through the trials life provided, learn the lessons and move forward to show someone else they can too. Not all family are those to whom we are born into and on that note I want to thank my mom, Jean M. Dunn, you are the angel God sent to watch over me and make sure I would succeed in this life. Without your guidance, perseverance, determination to make sure I did not get labeled autistic or mentally challenged and turned away from traditional schooling I am certain I would not be half the woman I am today. I love you more than you know and thank you for loving me. Thank you to my beautiful children for being a huge inspiration (Schantelle A. Emery, J'Nai D. Emery, Emmett Emery Jr., Taylor M. Emery). Remember, any goal is obtainable and it’s never too late. Love goes out to my sisters and brother (Jeannette, Dalhia, Geneva, Ronnie) - All Butterflies Begin as Caterpillars - . Shout outs to my girls - Candi Hoehne, Donna Ravo, Elaine Higgins, Paula Espada, Sharice Branch-Harris, Tammy Street, thank you for your silent prayers, applauds, words of encouragement, and being examples for me to follow as inspiration during this wonderful time of my life. Thank you to all my instructors and my advisor, Peggy Berry who would diligently work with me to make sure I was on track and encourage me to keep going. Thank you for your guidance – you are wonderful! Last but not least I want to say a big thank you to Manny who has been my biggest fan and a sturdy shoulder to lean on during the last couple years. You and chocolate chip ice cream helped me get through some really rough times as I completed this chapter of my life – I love you.



2/26/2013 9:22:40 AM jeanne dunn We!ve had many adventures over the last 35 years and perhaps the best is that inspite of all the obstacles we still have a relationship that is still growing. We have gone from foster parent-child to mother-grandmother to just really close girlfriends.Who would have thought it possible?I loved you when you were 9 and shouting NO at me and now when we can laugh. Report
2/20/2013 9:42:50 PM Manny Fontes (aka.fonzzy) Congratulations to my brown shugga, you have come along way and you deserve to finally reach the goal that you set out to accomplish all of these years. It was my pleasure in being there for you during those rough times that I remember so vividly, making sure that you were doing your homework and assignments. :)I am happy that I was your biggest fan who was there cheering you on when you needed it the most. Thank you also for being there for me encouraging me and making me realize that I could do anything I set my mind to. I love you too babe. Report
2/8/2013 7:55:27 AM Donna Ravo I left a huge response yesterday...don't see it???? Report
2/6/2013 4:57:05 PM Paula D. Espada Thank you for giving me a cathartic moment. I have and always will believe in you. I am here for you, unconditionally! God bless you! I love you! Report


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