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Promise recipient returns to her roots

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Hannah DeZeeuw

Kalamazoo native Hannah DeZeeuw is one of the more than 3,800 Kalamazoo Public Schools graduates to qualify for the Kalamazoo Promise since the scholarship program began eight years ago. The 2009 Loy Norrix High School graduate put her scholarship to good use at Michigan State University, where she received a bachelor's degree in Political Science Pre-Law in 2013.

Upon graduating, DeZeeuw began applying for jobs regionally.

"I wanted to be here in Michigan or the Chicago area to be near family and friends," DeZeeuw said.

She sent her resume to a wide variety of openings and was pleasantly surprised when she landed a job at Stryker.

"I have worked for Stryker as a Forensics Services Analyst for the last three months," she said.
"I'm one of the contacts for the company for the ethics hotline system and our team handles the reporting based on risk management for the various divisions within Stryker."

Now settled into her new position, DeZeeuw encourages students and graduates entering the job market to network whenever possible.

"Talking to your teachers and counselors in high school and professors in college are all important elements of obtaining your goals. Apply to internships that are relevant to your career because internships are great when building your resume," she said. "By doing these things you're learning a valuable lesson in how to build relationships and network yourself into opportunities that may not have been right in front of you otherwise.

"Looking back the best piece of advice I could have just told myself was to relax, that stressing out about things wasn't worth the pressure that I put on myself. Also, that it is important to push through the obstacles that appear to be in your way to get to your end goal. Never stop pushing for what you want. Learn to use the resources and people that are at your fingertips and in front of you."

The various entertainment options at her fingertips is part of the reason DeZeeuw decided to return to Kalamazoo and start her career.

"I like the idea of being in a community where there are things to do. Here in Kalamazoo we have a great downtown area, tons of unique restaurants with a big variety of tastes. I love Arcadia Creek Festival Place during the summer, Art Hop, and the open air Farmers' Market. There are also great downtown living spaces and workout places like in larger cities where you can meet new people," she said.

DeZeeuw utilizes Facebook as a way to communicate about festivals that she might want friends to join her at and follow what's going on with friends and to keep up on local politics. She uses LinkedIn for networking and business resources.

As much as she loves Kalamazoo, DeZeeuw also likes sharing the community with new visitors.

"It's always interesting to have friends from other places visit. They are often surprised by the wealth, healthy attitudes, and how the community thrives. It's politically involved and there are tons of businesses and companies large and small making a difference," she said.

"Kalamazoo is just a great place to work, have a family, and grow up. I really like that Kalamazoo has that college vibe and atmosphere. Having local sport teams like the K-Wings and now the Kalamazoo Growlers is great, too."

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