Rising junior and journalism and mass communication major Tara Flanagan knew The University of Olivet was the place for her as soon as she laid eyes on it. Being from the large city of Lansing is one thing, but Tara always felt more comfortable with smaller groups and class sizes during her experiences at J.W. Sexton High School. Graduating with a class of roughly 200, coming to OC was an easy transition that felt like home for Tara.
“I was used to the small classroom sizes in high school and teachers knowing your name,” Tara said. “Everyone was so friendly at Olivet, and my admissions rep knew my name out of all the other students who visited.” Tara was already motivated to be a Comet, and scholarships helped make her dream a reality, including the Lansing Promise, the Mark Mahaffey Scholarship for Visual and Performing Arts and an OC talent and participatory scholarship as a member of the Olivet dance team.
Already a high-achiever before she set foot on campus, Tara has left her mark on almost half a dozen organizations, teams and clubs in just her two short years on campus.
“I joined dance because it is my passion and something I want to do in life. One day the dancers covered for the cheerleaders while they were at a stunt competition, and that day made me realize how much I missed cheering, so I joined that team, too,” Tara explained. “I got involved with the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) because my residential adviser at the time, now sorority sister Brittney McDuffie, mentioned how it is a wonderful experience and would look good on a resume. Greek life was a natural fit, and I joined Nu Gamma Xi because I wanted a family at school and to get out of my comfort zone instead of staying in my room all day. Soon, I will also be a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and I want to help my sport be known and share my creative thoughts.”
Tara’s personal development has helped her strengthen her voice across many projects and platforms. This has made the journalism and mass communication major a perfect fit for her. “I started off as a visual arts major but found out that was not for me, and I changed to journalism and mass communication. I changed my major for many reasons: I like to talk, I have been told I talk a lot, I love to take pictures, and I’ve been told I have a good speaking voice,” Tara said.
Her career goals include becoming a news anchor or photographer, and she hopes to cover storms, natural disasters, protests and riots. Tara has been preparing for a successful future by photographing current Black Lives Matter movements in Lansing and networking with WLNS 6 News TV Anchor Sheri Jones through WLI.
In addition to her academic and extracurricular involvement, Tara still finds time to give back. Through personal experiences and services trips, Tara has learned valuable lessons that have enabled her to help others, using her voice as a platform. “I have realized that there’s always work to be done, but you can have fun while doing it and meeting new people,” Tara said. “My experience as a Comet has made me who I am today because service days and service trips have helped me realize why I love to help people.”
Settled in and making her mark on The University of Olivet, Tara was honored with the Good Neighbor Award last year and the Multicultural Award two times. She was also voted onto Homecoming court during the fall 2019 semester. And finally, Tara earned the Sophomore Award for Leadership during Honors Week this spring. “I am honored that out of all the sophomores I was the one to receive the award. It makes me feel like I am really doing something great and am being seen and acknowledged for it,” she said.
Tara is looking forward to being back on campus this fall and welcoming the newest members of the The University of Olivet family. “I would encourage any student to attend OC because not only is it a college, it is a family!” Tara emphasized.
Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or email@example.com.
This feature was written by rising junior Chad Enwright, Marketing and Multi-Media Student Associate. He is a resident adviser, member of the football team, chief recruitment officer for Phi Beta Lambda and a business administration major who aspires to invent and operate his own high-tech, home security and automation business.