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Miss Blossomtime selects SMC to study nursing

Miss Blossomtime Kaylee Chapin selected Southwestern Michigan College to study nursing. While completing nursing prerequisites, the Watervliet freshman works in SMC’s admissions office as a Student Ambassador, guiding visitors touring campus at such events as Green Flag Automotive Technology Day and Saw Dust Day for the construction trades.

Her admissions duties take 10 hours a week Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

“I applied to be a Student Ambassador because my advisor (Marcus Roll), who knew I was Miss Blossomtime, thought it would be a good job for me because of my public speaking experience,” Chapin said.

“I was at the beach when I got the phone call” notifying her she received a Presidential Scholarship based on grade-point average and test scores.

“I was really excited when I found out because I wasn’t sure where I would end up,” said Chapin, a middle child with an older sister, a younger brother and an uncle who is a nurse.

She considered following her sister to Western Michigan University, “but it seemed too big for me. That’s another reason I decided to come here, because it’s smaller, which I personally prefer. After here, I think I’ll go on to get my BSN. I’m not sure where yet, though.”

The fact SMC has begun pouring the footings on its new $9.6-million nursing building that will double the size of the existing 1970 facility while adding four state-of-the-art simulation labs and a 16-bed skills lab “sealed the deal” for Chapin.

“It played a huge impact” in her decision to come to Dowagiac, where she lives in Thomas F. Jerdon Hall. “I was really excited when I heard the school is getting that upgrade.”

The former Miss Watervliet’s reign as Miss Blossomtime ends in March.

Being queen of the 111-year-old Blossomtime Festival, which brings together two dozen southwest Michigan communities for the state’s oldest and largest multi-community festival, gave Chapin considerable promotional experience last spring.

“I did not expect to win” the regional pageant. “I went into it thinking I’d just have fun. I was very shocked when I got crowned.”

Chapin remembers visiting campus as a high school sophomore for an art workshop.

“I always thought SMC had a really nice campus when they gave us a tour for that,” she said.

“I’ve always been passionate about painting and drawing,” said Chapin, who in high school was co-president of her class and National Honor Society vice president. “My personality is very artsy, it’s just not what I decided to do career-wise.”

“I’m not very athletic,” she admitted. “Cheerleading and dance were my two sports. I did enjoy those very much.”

She also competed in Quiz Bowl trivia competitions with other schools, buzzing in with answers “like Jeopardy.”

Chapin said she enjoys spending time at the Student Activity Center (SAC), working out in the fitness center or swimming in the three resistance pools.

“My roommate’s also going into nursing, so we can do things together,” Chapin said. “There’s not a lot of (spare) time between going to class and studying,” although she is learning to play the guitar her dad gave her as a birthday present.