As a Southwestern Michigan College student, Admissions Counselor Alyssa Hosbein earned a flexible associate degree in business. “I was undecided,” Hosbein, 26, said. “It gave me the opportunity to go in a lot of directions” after her 2015 graduation.
Hosbein considered attending private Olivet College, but ultimately chose SMC “because it was close to my family, with in-district tuition — a great opportunity for me. I received some really good scholarships, so paid nothing out of pocket. I came here because it seemed more like home. I love SMC!”
Though Hosbein graduated from Watervliet High School, growing up she attended Sister Lakes Elementary School and the new Dowagiac Middle School. She lived on Big Crooked Lake, learned to ride a unicycle and was an outdoors-loving “kid with endless energy.”
Commuting from Sister Lakes while working for Chase Bank in Benton Harbor, Hosbein in hindsight regrets “not getting more involved” on campus. “I feel like I missed a lot. It’s nice that the staff cares about giving opportunities to students. I love being involved in that now.”
Hosbein, who worked in banking for 4 ½ years, was promoted to assistant branch manager after graduating. “I enjoyed it,” but at the same time bank work left her feeling unfulfilled. “It didn’t give me a purpose. It wasn’t the route I could continue to go down and feel like I was changing something.”
She also obtained her life-insurance license and worked for the John Scott Insurance Agency for two years. In August 2018 she began a year as a caretaker for her grandparents, then joined SMC in October 2019, covering primarily Van Buren, but also Allegan and Ottawa counties. She enjoys the community outreach with prospective students and their parents.
“I want students to take full advantage of our support services. I always say, ‘You can achieve anything you want if you put in the work.’ I realized that this past year as well. That’s why I’ve done so much since I’ve been back at SMC, because of support from impactful, genuine friends.”
She bought a house in Decatur and started work on her bachelor’s degree in human resource management through SMC partner Ferris State University. “I’m definitely happy I took the steps I did to get to where I’m at now,” talking to students to “see how I can help,” like the Van Buren County student who was in tears when they met.
“Her parents wouldn’t help with her FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or applying for scholarships. I let her know I’d help as much as I could. She’s a really sweet girl, so I’m excited that hopefully she will join us here. I liked getting back into the caring SMC culture.”
It’s only been five years since she left SMC, but the difference is striking, like the campus’ natural beauty since a wave of construction.
“There is more landscaping and flowers. It’s way different now” with complete renovations of two of the original 1966 structures, the Foster W. Daugherty and William P.D. O’Leary buildings, and last year’s nursing building expansion with a glassy front to match the Student Activity Center.