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Promise Team Spotlight - Melissa Nesbitt

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Melissa Nesbitt

It’s time for another installment in our Promise Team Spotlight series. So let’s get to know Melissa Nesbitt, Promise Pathway Coach for The Kalamazoo Promise (The Promise).

For a little over a year, Nesbitt has assisted Promise Scholars at Loy Norrix High School prepare for life after high school. Some of her primary duties include helping students fill out college applications, FAFSA paperwork, and discovering scholarship options outside The Promise.

“My mission in life is to serve and help,” Nesbitt said of her work. “I really enjoy helping people and I love it when a student starts believing in themselves and their mindset starts to change.”

As someone who faced challenges with the transition to college, Nesbitt can relate to students on a personal level.

“During my senior year I wasn’t sure what I wanted do,” she explained. “At that age, I never had the conversations that I do with my current students.”

After graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School, Nesbitt attended Michigan State University (MSU) until leaving during her sophomore year.

“When I went off to MSU I didn’t initially feel ready to be there,” she explained. “I wanted to work and travel, but I realized that going back to school and getting an education would improve my future opportunities.”

After a few years at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Nesbitt returned to MSU and earned a degree in psychology.

“I went through several majors before deciding on psychology,” she said about her return to MSU. “It was a process of discovering myself and wanting to care for others.”

The years following her graduation saw Nesbitt working as a parapro and business banker. Eventually, she learned that a position at The Promise was opening and decided to apply.

“When I was attending MSU, I was always reaching out to Bob Jorth to discuss what might be helpful for future Promise Scholars,” she recalled. “When the position at The Promise became available, I knew that it was my opportunity to do something that would help others. Being a first-generation college student myself, I wanted to provide students with the assistance I wish I had received when I was their age.”

Two of the main lessons that Nesbitt imparts on her students is to always start early and maximize their resources.

“I tell them to keep knocking on doors,” she said. “If my students see that I did it, then they know that they can do it, too.”

Thank you for showing such a strong commitment to the future of Kalamazoo’s young adults, as well as sharing your story, Melissa. Keep up the excellent work!

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