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Student Spotlight: Marquis Woodson

Marquis Mulder with family

Setting the Standard

“I grew up with a single mother and four other siblings,” explained Ferris – Grand Rapids student Marquis Woodson. “My mother didn’t go to college, neither did my father or my grandparents. So I knew that it was something that I had to do, and I had to motivate myself to do it.”

Growing up, Marquis Woodson had big dreams for his future. He loved to read and he loved to learn. He wanted to be a teacher or a psychologist, but most importantly, he wanted to be a college graduate.

Marquis’ college journey started in 2007 when he enrolled at Grand Rapids Community College. For nearly nine years he worked in the healthcare industry, weaving in and out of school until he received his associate degree from GRCC in 2016.

“I wouldn’t change my college experience for the world,” said Marquis. “If I would have completed my degree right out of high school, I probably wouldn’t have had the experience and the understanding of life that I have now.”

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Marquis Woodson and siblings
Marquis Woodson and siblings

Plus, at Ferris I’ve been able to put all my experience to use,” Marquis continued. “My knowledge has given me a better understanding of the classroom material. I feel comfortable and confident here, and I feel like Ferris represents me and gives me what I need from a university.

"Knowing that I'm getting my bachelor's degree, which no one in my family has ever done...that's incredible."

The 30-year-old Health Care Systems Administration student will graduate from Ferris – Grand Rapids in the spring of 2019, making him the first member of his family to receive a bachelor’s degree.

An associate degree is a very big thing! But knowing that I’m getting a bachelor’s degree, which no one in my family has ever done… that’s incredible,” Marquis told us. “I think it’ll set the standards for my nieces and nephews."

I would like to thank everyone who told me no, everyone who has doubted me or thought I wasn’t capable,” finished Marquis. “I want to thank those people because they’ve motivated me. Those people have single-handedly motivated me to get to where I’m at today."

If you're considering your college options as a first generation student, you can find support here. You can learn more about the Health Care Systems Bachelor's Degree Program that Marquis is completing at our Grand Rapids homepage.


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