Your life’s work is waiting…

Your life’s work is waiting: start now.

Through the Alma Commitment, we will work with you to plan a college experience that includes all the classes necessary to complete a degree in four years, to have practical experiences (such as internships and research opportunities) that will look great on your resume, to include other campus opportunities that are important to you (performing arts, athletics, Greek life, etc.) and to prepare you not just for your first career, but for all of your careers.

Find out how Alma College can work for you!

Meet a few Great Scots - and when you’re ready to dive in to what’s next, find a major and apply to Alma.

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    “Scuba diving … was like looking at a whole new world. Seeing what lies right below the surface was like an awakening, and it was then that I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life studying this world and protecting it.” — Anna Foltz

    imageNot many undergraduates can say that they have conducted research on shark behavior and conservation, but Alma College student Anna Foltz can — and in Fiji, of all places!

    Foltz, a senior from Saginaw, and other members of her off-campus study class scuba-dived with sharks multiple times a day in July 2014. She also did a research project focused on sharks’ feeding behavior.

    “For the course, we completed advanced dive training as well as traditional schoolwork,” says Foltz. “We had daily class sessions where we learned shark biology, behavior, conservation and more, coupled with field research.

    image“This course was very helpful as it provided me with advanced experience diving with sharks and a solid introduction to performing marine behavioral research,” she says.

    Diving with sharks may seem adventurous, but the students were never in danger. They were closely supervised by the dive company crew and escorted by “body guard” divers. In addition, the trained sharks were “conditioned” to not breach certain sections of the coral wall.

    “The sharks were curious, but they never displayed aggression toward us,” she says.

    Foltz found her passion for marine ecosystems and conservation during a spring term class in her sophomore year at Alma.

    “I went on Dr. John Rowe’s Hawaii trip,” she says. “Scuba diving on this trip was like looking at a whole new world. Seeing what lies right below the surface was like an awakening, and it was then that I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life studying this world and protecting it. If I hadn’t gone on this trip, my future would look very different.”

    During her four years at Alma, Foltz has double majored in biology and anthropology and minored in environmental studies.

    imageShe received the Currie Scholarship, by which she studied the Ronald Kapp collection in the Alma College library. She then used his data to develop archaeological hypotheses of where Paleo-Indian peoples may have lived in the Alma College Ecological Station (the Vestaburg Bog).

    She plans to pursue graduate studies of the population dynamics in sharks, skates and rays and the ecosystem collapse that results from their removal. Her research would aid in recommending conservation policy to protect further decline in populations as well as save the ecosystem from total collapse.

    “The opportunities available through the biology and anthropology departments and the ability to study abroad have all culminated in making me an extremely well qualified candidate who will be very competitive in my field of study after graduation,” she says.

     

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    “Everything I have learned about chemistry, I learned at Alma. Some of the graduate students I worked with over the summer now use the techniques I brought with me from Alma in their own research labs.” — Sarah Cox

    Sarah CoxSarah CoxSwartz Creek senior Sarah Cox has had a passion for science since she was in the sixth grade, and it has only grown with time.

    “My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Mann, presented science in a really different way and showed me how interesting it could be,” she says. “From then on I was always interested in the sciences.”

    Sarah, a biology major, was attracted to the idea of a liberal arts education because of the opportunity to be challenged in multiple disciplines. She chose Alma College because of the friendly people and the high placement of students into graduate programs.

    Over the past two summers, Cox was one of 13 students selected from a pool of more than 250 applicants to conduct material chemistry research at the University of Michigan, funded by the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.

    While at the University of Michigan, she worked in a lab conducting research on molecular gelators using computational methods to predict possible gel forming molecules. She then synthesized and screened for successful gelators. Through her research Cox succeeded in discovering a new molecular gelator.

    “Alma College very much prepared me for this experience by giving me the opportunity to do research and work one-on-one with a professor as an undergraduate,” Cox says. “The depth and the real world application of the courses that I took prior to my REU were very useful when I was working in the lab.”

    She was able to learn what a typical year in graduate school will be like and was also able to discover how rewarding it is to make new discoveries in her field of study.

    “Everything I have learned about chemistry, I learned at Alma,” says Cox. “Dr. [Scott] Hill taught me a lot of lab and research skills. Some of the graduate students I worked with over the summer now use the techniques I brought with me from Alma in their own research labs.”

    Sarah CoxSarah CoxSarah ultimately would like to teach at a small liberal arts college much like Alma or enter into a career in the chemical industry, after she is finished pursuing a Ph.D. in material chemistry.

    “If I were to become a professor, I would present the information in the same manner that I learned it at Alma,” she says. “Classes made sense to me, and I was excited to learn more about the topics and get more involved in doing actual research on these topics.”

    Outside of the science lab, Sarah is a captain with the Alma College Cheer and Stunt team. She also works as the head student operator for the facilities office and as a chemistry tutor.

     

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    “It’s important to have a Student Congress on campus so that the voices, suggestions and concerns of the student body are heard.” — Lauren Engels

    Lauren EngelsLauren EngelsStudent opinions and concerns are a primary focus for Lauren Engels, the 2014-15 Student Congress president at Alma College.

    “I want to ensure that student ideas and concerns are being represented,” says Engels, a senior from Livonia. “It’s important to have a Student Congress on campus so that the voices, suggestions and concerns of the student body are heard.”

    All students deserve to have a voice in what goes on at Alma College, she says. Engels works to help Student Congress reach more students by opening communication lines and ensuring student representatives are serving on Alma College committees.

    “Student Congress should be a place where different organizations brainstorm ideas to improve campus and then set the ideas into action,” she says.

    imageIn addition to Student Congress, Engels also is involved in Model United Nations, Alternative Breaks, Amnesty International, Entrepreneurs in Action and the Presidential Honors Program and works in the Smith Alumni house.

    She has participated in several Posey Global trips, including working in a childcare ministry in Uganda, and has completed an internship at the U.S. Mission at the United Nations. She says all of her experiences have made for an amazing time at Alma College.

    “There is not one experience that would qualify as the best,” she says. “All of the conversations, seminars, internships and adventures I have participated in have combined to make my time at Alma College truly remarkable.”

    Upon graduating from Alma College, Engels plans to pursue a master’s degree, specializing in humanitarian assistance and international diplomacy. Ultimately, she hopes to write U.S. foreign policy for emerging crises, focusing on humanitarian assistance and improving living conditions for women and children refugees.

     

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    In coming to Alma, Mackenzie Smith accomplished her dream of playing college soccer. Her Alma experience includes a double major in business and communication — and a seven-day tour of Barcelona with her soccer teammates.

    Mackenzie SmithMackenzie SmithA weeklong trip to Spain in August 2014 helped kick off the fall season for the Alma College women’s soccer team. For team member Mackenzie Smith, the trip was the chance of a lifetime to experience a different culture while also competing against top teams from Spain.

    “The highlights from Spain were being able to see the beautiful architecture from places such as Girona and Park Guell,” says Mackenzie, a senior from Saginaw. “My personal favorite was being able to see the unfinished cathedral in Barcelona that was started in the 1800s by an artist named Gaudi and isn’t expected to be done until 2026.

    “Another highlight was being able to play the Spanish teams,” she says. “They were very good competition, and it was cool to be able to watch the Spanish style of play. We also got to experience the culture of Spain with the language and food and learn how to navigate and use the subways.”

    The trip included visits to the 1992 Olympic village in Barcelona, a former bull-fighting arena now used for concerts and numerous cathedrals, and cultural sites.

    “I knew when I came to Alma that an overseas trip was a possibility, but I didn’t know it was actually going to happen until the middle of my junior year,” she says. “When I found out it was going to be Spain, I was really excited because I had never been there before.”

    Teams exchange gifts in Spain.Teams exchange gifts in Spain.

    Academically, Mackenzie is double majoring in business and communication and plans to pursue a career in marketing following graduation. She also is involved in Alma’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

    “I like Alma because of the small class sizes,” she says. “I went to a small high school, so I knew I wanted to go to a small college. I like how the professors all know my name instead of being at a big college where I would feel invisible and wouldn’t be able to have the one-on-one conversations with the faculty like I do at Alma.

    “Also, I got to accomplish my dream of playing college soccer. Not only did I get to play four more years of the game I love, I came into a successful program and met my best friends along the way.”

     

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    “An exciting thing about the opportunities at Alma College is that you can really get exposed to a lot of different things, and you’re not sort of stuck within your major,” says Ari Kornelis.

    During the summer before his senior year of high school, Ari Kornelis attended Alma College’s summer percussion workshop.

    “I thought I knew a lot about music, but hearing the percussions ensemble perform for us — because they do a concert during that camp each week — and when they performed, I was pretty blown away,” says Ari, who graduated from in April 2014.

     

     

    Alma wasn’t initially on the top of his college list. But as time went on, the idea of going to a large university just didn’t feel right to him. Alma did.

    “An exciting thing about the opportunities at Alma College is that you can really get exposed to a lot of different things, and you’re not sort of stuck within your major,” he says.

    Ari KornelisAri Kornelis

    Alma’s small-school experience allowed him to be involved in a wide range of activities. He performed in the orchestra, concert band, percussion ensemble and Kiltie Marching Band.

    Kornelis became the president of the Alma College chapter of the International Criminal Court Student Network. He traveled to the Netherlands to participate in a conference on international law regarding the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a war criminal from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    He also became involved with WQAC, Alma’s student radio station, and the Model United Nations team.

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    Kornelis studied abroad in the Peruvian Amazon doing work with sustainable waste management systems like vermicomposting — composting with worms. That has led to an interest in environmental policy, which he plans to pursue after graduation.

     

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    Will Allen, a 2009 graduate of Alma College, is making a difference in the United Kingdom, where he has raised $480,000 in grants that allow him to lead research on international migration.

    Allen’s research explores how information about international migration is understood, visualized and communicated to a wide range of stakeholders in British public life.

    His grants have come from several international sources, including the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Toyota Foundation in Japan.

    Professor Ed Lorenz, with Will Allen and Will's parents, in 2011.Professor Ed Lorenz, with Will Allen and Will's parents, in 2011.

    “It might seem unusual for a social scientist to attract funding from councils normally covering diverse subjects like art, history, computer science or business,” Allen says. “However, I believe it illustrates the fact that data of all types, visualization of those data, and their communication are incredibly relevant to society, policymakers and the private sector.”

    Allen works at the Migration Observatory in Britain. Formed in 2011, the independent organization’s goal is to inform debates about migration in the United Kingdom through and accessible data analysis.

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    “My role involves leading projects that investigate how the United Kingdom’s lively media — particularly its national press — discuss migration issues and portray different migrant groups,” says Allen. “My mission is to equip others with the knowledge, skills and techniques to produce better, more effective migration policy — as well as improve their involvement with migrants themselves.”

    Allen’s work on the media portrayal of migration has been taken up by non-governmental organizations around the United Kingdom as well as the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the European Commission of Brussels.

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    After graduating from Alma College with a program of emphasis in social policy, he went on to study international development at the University of Oxford as Alma’s first Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholar. He was one of 30 scholars from around the world, selected from a pool of approximately 650 applicants, to receive the prestigious post-graduate award.

    Allen says his undergraduate experiences at Alma College were vital in his success at Oxford and as a research officer at the Migration Observatory.

    Will Allen, presenting at 2011 Honors DayWill Allen, presenting at 2011 Honors Day

    “Opportunities for international travel widened my horizon of what was possible,” he says. “Traveling to Ecuador, Mexico and continental Europe for spring terms gave me the self-confidence to pursue further education abroad. Perhaps most importantly, my time at Alma gave me the chance to discover how my values and beliefs could inform transformative action.”

    He urges students looking to do similar social and civil work to broaden their horizons as much as possible.

    “I would recommend taking a wide range of courses that challenge your thinking on a subject,” he says. It will make you more flexible and will make you able to solve problems more intelligently. I would also emphasize the importance of understanding how to communicate effectively and managing projects. These are skills that are developed through repeated experiences outside the classroom.”

     

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    Looking back on his four-year Alma College experience, Michael Reeves appreciated the challenges as much as the successes.

    “Coming into Alma, I thought I had everything figured,” says Reeves. “I knew how the world worked, and I was going to change the world — the world was not going to change me. Through my years at Alma College, I realized that in order to change the world, I must start with myself.

    Michael Reeves (third from left), with parents Mark and Laura Reeves and Alma President Jeff Abernathy.Michael Reeves (third from left), with parents Mark and Laura Reeves and Alma President Jeff Abernathy.

    Reeves, the 2014 recipient of the Barlow Trophy, Alma College’s most prestigious award for a graduating senior, acknowledges that the experiences at Alma that best prepared him to be successful were the struggles.

    “Whenever a class was difficult or challenging, I learned that I needed to work harder and to not be too proud to ask for help,” he says. “I know a few of my professors were tired of seeing me in their offices so often, but I needed to be there in order to succeed.

    “Whenever I had too much on my plate, I needed to decide when to persevere and when it was time to stop an activity. I learned that it is much better to try everything, and then focus on the activities I loved most. I would rather be great at a few activities and put forth my full effort, than to be mediocre at all activities or not live up to my full potential.

    “I also learned that friends and confidants are some of the most important items in life. I could never have accomplished what I have here without the support of my friends, family, and mentors. I wish that I had more time to thank people for what they have done for me.”

    Reeves, a native of Lisle, Ill., participated in numerous extracurricular activities during his four years at Alma while pursuing a degree in elementary education. He was active in the performing arts, campus residence life, admissions recruitment and the local Alma community.

    Michael Reeves, homecoming king.Michael Reeves, homecoming king.

    He was voted Alma’s homecoming king in fall 2013 and served as an officer in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national music fraternity, and Kappa Delta Pi, the international education honorary. Passionate about music, Reeves was a member of the Kiltie Wind and Jazz ensembles as well as the College Chorale and Alma Choir.

    His community involvement included volunteering as a coach for the local Alma Tigers Special Olympics Basketball Program. Additional campus activities included playing one year of varsity football and three years of intramural basketball. He also was active with Youth for Christ, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Alma College Chapel ministries.

    The Barlow Award, which is voted on by Student Congress and faculty members, is presented to a graduating student in the top 10 percent of the senior class who has made incredible contributions to both the campus and the community.

     

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    Inspired by MTV’s Do Something Awards, Christelle Bangsi is spearheading a local food project, recovering surplus perishable foods that would otherwise go to waste and donating it to people in need.

    She hopes to expand the food recovery effort to the greater Alma area.

    “I was watching MTV’s Do Something Awards, and the president of the Food Recovery Network was highlighted,” says Christelle. “I was looking to get involved in something philanthropically, so I found out more about the organization and reached out.”

    Working with staff from Sodexo, Alma College’s food service provider, Bangsi brings left-over cooked food from Hamilton Food Commons to Community Café at First Presbyterian Church every Thursday.

    Since the national Food Recovery Network began working with college campuses in September 2011, more than 96,000 meals have been recovered.

    “I continue to be impressed by Christelle’s willingness to give so much of her time, energy and effort for such a great cause,” says Steve Watkins, Sodexo general manager at Alma College. “She’s solely responsible for instigating very good things for even better reasons.”

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Discover your world.

You design an amazing learning experience - travel, research, internship - and Alma College will help make it happen.
 
Programs such as the Alma VenturePosey Global Fellowships and others provide each student up to $2,500 to support experiential learning. 
 
So step out of your comfort zone. Explore. Grow. Be who you want to be.
  • Alma’s small size led Karol Chubb to big opportunities as a volunteer, intern, mentor and health care administration major.
  • Jamie Young felt prepared for life after graduation. He competed against hundreds of other applicants to snag his dream job.
  • With a passion for travel and and a knack for science, Fallon Koenig, our very first Alma Venture recipient, hit the ground running and studied medicinal ethnobotany in the Ecuadorian Amazon during her first year.

       

Make it happen.

The college search process is exciting, but it also can be overwhelming!

Our admissions and financial aid staff are available to sit down with you and answer your questions. We want to help you make the best decision. (It’s no secret; we hope you choose Alma!).

  • In the past year, Alma College awarded over $24.1 million in scholarships to its students.
  • Every student receives some level of award.
  • With merit scholarships, special awards and need-based grants, we are working to make the quality education that Alma provides accessible to you.