A leader demonstrates drive and initiative, influencing their peers and the world around them. Leaders practice relentless dedication and passion. They chase their goals, while maintaining a respectful and compassionate attitude.
These characteristics describe the students that recently visited Van Andel Institute for the Purple Community Leadership Lunch and Learn. These teenagers are undoubtedly leaders both in school and outside of it in their communities.
On November 1 students from Otsego High School, Duncan Lake Middle School, and Hastings Middle School came to the medical mile to visit Van Andel Institute – most for the very first time! . These students showed superb dedication to our mission through fundraising efforts at their schools over the years, collectively raising $255,470 to fund research at Van Andel Institute. Our guests had the opportunity to hear from one of VARI’s newest additions to the organization, Dr. Connie Krawczyk, whose lab investigates the mechanisms that regulate immune cell function, with an emphasis on gene expression and cellular metabolism. Having the opportunity to listen to how their hard work and dollars raised directly impacts real, local scientists work energized these young leaders.
WOTV4’s Maranda was our wonderful emcee for the program, and our Purple Community Cabinet Marketing Chair, Ken Evans, was present to share his story about his “why” referring to what his motivation is for getting involved as a leader in our community. Maranda and Ken reflected on the qualities of a leader while celebrating the important work these students are doing.
Students also had the exciting opportunity to visit VAEI. Van Andel Education Institute works hard to engage students earlier in life to take interest in science-related fields by offering hands on inquiry based experiments and challenges for students. Our Lunch and Learn leaders had the opportunity to test out 4 different experimentation stations at VAEI that day – from identifying microorganisms to macro organisms to distinguishing amoebas under a microscope.
Thank you to all students who have supported Purple Community and research at Van Andel Institute. You are truly both the present and future leaders of our community.