Vanessa Ferguson, MPA

Vanessa FergusonClass of 2003: BA, Communication
Adjunct Instructor, Mott Community College
Consultant, VCF Consulting
Writer and Researcher, Michigan Government Television

Vanessa said, “My off-campus study period led me to where I am working now with Michigan Government Television. In addition, it opened up research opportunities, which I was able to build on in graduate school and beyond.” She is currently a communications instructor at Mott Community College and writing for Michigan Government Television (Michigan’s version of C-SPAN). She also does consulting work with nonprofits and political candidates in Genesee, Oakland, and Lapeer Counties. Vanessa serves on several nonprofit boards and she and her husband have been coordinating the entire fundraising and planning efforts to build a $103,000 dog park at Creasey Bicentennial Park in Grand Blanc, MI. No public dollars are being used for the park. Vanessa received a Master’s in Communication from Michigan State University and a second Master’s in Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University. In the future, she plans to continue to expand her consulting work and expand her teaching beyond the college environment to train business professionals for public speaking and other communication skills. Vanessa’s advice to future Honors students: “Take advantage of everything that is available to you through the program. Recognize that the connections you make in your off-campus study period can be great networking opportunities for your future studies and/or career. Realize that you don’t always have to go overseas to have a fulfilling experience. In addition, the intense coursework in the core classes prepared me for my studies at one of the top graduate programs in my field. I saw other students from universities across the country struggle to keep up at this level and I felt confident and prepared to be successful because of the foundation I had from my time in the Honors Program. Plus, looking back over my college years these were some of my favorite courses during my time at the University of Michigan-Flint.”


Jeffery M. Coller, Ph.D.

Jeffery Coller

Class of 1994: BS, Biology
Assistant Professor
Center for RNA Molecular Biology
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH

Dr. Coller said, “The Honors Program at UM-Flint was a quintessential experience in my life both personally and professionally. Personally, I met many brilliant people, some of whom I’m still friends with to this day. In fact, my best friend at that time is still my best friend today, and we keep in touch constantly. The Program helped me meet people that inspired me to reach my career goals. It was like a geeky support group. Second, the overseas experience was professionally critical. It opened my eyes to a big world of culture and opportunity. In fact, I can honestly say to this day that I would simply not be in the position I am in without the overseas experience.” He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Center for RNA Molecular Biology at Case Western Reserve University. He is a principle investigator of a federally funded research lab that focuses its research on understanding fundamental aspects of cellular function. His lab is comprised of 10 people, graduate students, and research technicians alike. Dr. Coller received his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He was then a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Arizona -Tucson. In the future, he plans to continue to develop his lab’s research program doing the science that he loves. His advice to future Honors students: “Take advantage of your opportunity in this program. Dare to take a risk and do something you never thought you could do. It is a rare and golden opportunity to test your abilities. Also, make friends. The people you are surrounded by will one day be the leaders of our society. You can learn much from each other.”