May 13, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- GRCC boasts alumni who represent many generations of the same family, but it’s rare to celebrate two generations sharing a commencement!
Karah Kamstra, who is completing an internship with a family dentist office in Grandville, graduated this month with her associate degree in dental assisting from GRCC as well as a bachelor’s degree in health sciences from Grand Valley State University.
She was joined by her aunt, Amy Maggini, who received her Associate of Arts in nursing from GRCC.
Maggini, who has four grown children, already has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Taylor University in Indiana and a master’s in counselor education and counseling psychology from Western Michigan University. But she returned to the classroom to pursue her longtime dream of a nursing career.
“At age 49, I realized that if I was going to become a nurse, I had better get going!” said Maggini, who is completing an internship at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services.
“Returning to the classroom at that age and ending up doing so during a worldwide pandemic was not an easy task. However, GRCC’s outstanding staff, student support services, and commitment to its mission of being ‘an open access college that prepares individuals to attain their goals and contribute to the community,’ got me to the point of graduating May 1 with an Associate of Arts degree in Nursing.”
Kamstra says she can vividly remember the first day she stepped onto the campus five years ago: “Both my mom and Nonni (grandmother Jan Maggini – a former GRCC trustee) were with me touring the campus. As alumni themselves, it was so fun to have them show me around and hear their experiences from when they first began their GRCC journey.”
While it took some time for her to achieve her goal, she knew right away that she wanted to work in the dental field.
“Although it took a few years to find my way back to GRCC, I’m especially grateful for all the people who led me to where I am today,” Kamstra said, adding that she is very thankful for the inspiration provided by her grandmother, who is not only a Grand Rapids Junior College alumna but is also a founding member of the board of trustees.
“She has encouraged and supported me through all my school years and has taught me to never stop learning -- you are never too old!” Kamstra said.