Bay Commitment Scholar is paying it forward by helping incoming students succeed

For Donna Husband, the Bay Commitment Scholarship from the Bay Area Community Foundation provided much more than money for tuition. Husband says the scholarship also gave her support and connections for success.

Husband graduated from Bay City Central High School in 2020 and enrolled at Saginaw Valley State University. Today, she’s in her first year of graduate school to earn a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. 

“I wouldn’t be able to go to college without the scholarships I received,” Husband says. “Definitely why I’m on track today is because of all the help and connections.”

She’s in a three-two program, meaning she will graduate in five years with both a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree. The program is rigorous, but Husband says she has support from the Bay Area Community Foundation and SVSU.

Donna Husband, an SVSU student and Bay City Central graduate, credits the Bay Commitment Scholarship program with helping her afford college. Now, she's trying to help incoming scholarship recipients find success. (Photo courtesy of Donna Husband)Marie Rabideau, who oversees the Bay Commitment scholars at SVSU, offers regular guidance to Husband.

“I meet with her twice a year, every year,” Husband says. “She’s been really helpful, even from the beginning, with helping plan my schedule.”

Best of all, Rabideau doesn’t wait for Husband to ask for help.

“I’m not the type to just go and ask for help,” Husband says. “I like to figure it out on my own, so I’m glad she was always there, always reaching out, and checking in. What really helped me were the check-ins. She’s offered me a lot of resources and getting me connections relevant to my course of study.”

Her course of study goes back to high school. 

Husband says she had a long-time interest in therapy. A class at the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center, though, sparked her interest in Occupational Therapy.

“The field is a blend of arts and science and I’m a very creative person,” Husband says. 

Occupational Therapy began in World War II when nurses used arts and crafts activities to help soldiers recover from physical and emotional trauma.

“We are based on a client-centered approach. We try to incorporate creative ways to make therapy meaningful and purposeful to (patients.) That’s why I love occupational therapy,” Husband says.

Although she has another year of school to go, Husband is already thinking about her eventual career. She is especially interested in hand therapy. For now, though, she’s focused not only on her own coursework, but also helping others.

As an upperclassman, Husband says she feels privileged to meet the incoming Bay Commitment Scholars. Since she has received so much support during her schooling, she is happy to pay it forward by helping incoming students.

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Read more articles by Kathy Roberts.

Kathy Roberts, a graduate of Central Michigan University, moved to Bay City in 1987 to start a career in the newspaper industry. She was a reporter and editor at the Bay City Times for 15 years before leaving to work at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Covenant HealthCare, and Ohno Design. In 2019, she returned to her storytelling roots as the Managing Editor of Route Bay City. When she’s not editing or writing stories, you can find her reading books, knitting, or visiting the bars of Bay County. You can reach Kathy at