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Kaitlyn Van Hekken: Capitalizing on Opportunities

“Alma has given me so many opportunities. Beyond what I have been able to learn in the classroom, I also have made amazing connections with alumni and others that the school has led me to.”

Kaitlyn Van HekkenVan Hekken of Grand Haven, a senior at Alma College, has taken advantage of the many opportunities that Alma has to offer. While double majoring in marketing and communication, Van Hekken has also completed two summer internships.

After landing at her first internship as a property management intern for Rockford Construction, she was able to obtain another internship in summer 2020 with the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce as a marketing and retail intern. During the school year , Van Hekken has worked in the admissions office as a tour guide since her sophomore year and more recently as the assistant visit coordinator.

This may seem like a large workload for a college student, but not at Alma. Alma is home to 29 athletic teams — 22 of which compete in NCAA Division III competitions — and almost 100 student organizations. The majority of students at Alma participate in one or more of these extracurricular activities.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of Van Hekken’s college career, however, is ongoing. As her senior year at Alma winds down, she is working as the social media coordinator for Bitworks, a student-run media company.

“Because of the classes and connections I have made during my time here, I have had the opportunity to work with Bitworks,” she said. “While this is my first year working with them, I am thankful for the chance to refine my communications skills and grow professionally through this job.”

Van Hekken is in charge of running the company’s social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. She focuses on creating posts to inform potential customers about Bitworks – what they do and why they do it. Van Hekken also highlights upcoming and past projects for the group.

Van Hekken has been a member of Alma’s cheer and STUNT teams for the last four years, highlighted by her nod this past year as a team captain and the team’s All-Girl Division III National Cheerleaders Association championship in 2018.

“I was welcomed by my coach and all the girls on my team and enjoyed the competitive atmosphere the team would bring me,” she said.

“My favorite memory here at Alma has been winning the cheer team’s national championship in 2018. It is so amazing to have your hard work pay off and to be rewarded in such a huge way. It is something I will never forget, and I hope the team can compete for another this year.”

Van Hekken is weighing her options after college. She wants to travel the summer after graduation and work in a marketing and media firm after that. Her long-term goal is to attend law school and become a civil rights lawyer.

“My favorite thing about Alma is how genuine everyone is. Everyone at Alma truly cares about you and wants you to succeed in your next phase of life. People are so welcoming and kind; everyone can fit in here and find their niche,” she said.

Story published on January 05, 2021