Heather Simon

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Heather Simon always wanted to go into the medical field, but that wasn’t her first choice when she came to Montcalm Community College.

Although she spent many of her teenage years working as a candy striper and enjoyed caring for others, circumstances after high school led her to the paralegal field. She says paralegal studies just “caught my interest” because it was a “new and upcoming field.”

Simon earned an Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences degree in Paralegal Studies from MCC in 1993. Upon completion, she became a child custody investigator for 10 years — but something wasn’t right.

“I wanted to change careers. I wanted to go into the medical field,” Simon says. “It was like going back to a childhood dream.” Returning to MCC helped her fulfill that dream. MCC was “close to home, affordable, and all of my credits would transfer to Central Michigan University. I had a great experience” before, with “helpful instructors who encouraged me to go farther.”

“I had a family, work and classes to manage, so it was convenient,” she adds.

MCC also offered the atmosphere that Simon was looking for.

“The small class sizes are nice, too, because you feel more of a one-on-one instruction,” she says.

She describes her first classroom experience at CMU with a simple number — “There were 300 students!”

Despite the initial shock of walking into a larger classroom setting on her first day at CMU, Simon was prepared to continue her journey after attending MCC.

MCC’s associate-degree program “is an ideal transition into college because high school and college are so drastically different. It prepares you for a four-year college,” she says.

Simon’s second transition from MCC was made even simpler with the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (MACRAO) agreement, which allows students to meet general education requirements at a four-year institution by completing core classes at a two-year institution like MCC.

Simon says that MCC helped her achieve success. The college taught Simon study skills, preparedness, punctuality and teamwork. She says classes always seemed to “incorporate team projects.” But MCC’s influence on her didn’t stop in the classroom.

MCC “transitions you into a four-year college as you move onto, not only your college career, but your life,” she says.

Now Simon is a certified physician assistant at Carson Health’s Greenville Family Care Center clinic, where she has provided care for the past three-and-a-half years.

“I love providing medical care in our rural health clinic,” she says.

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