Matt Smith – who is now working as a Clinical Staff Pharmacist at OSF St. Francis Hospital and Medical Group in Escanaba – began his career about two decades ago. At that time, he was a student at Bay College.
Matt graduated from Gladstone Area High School in 2001. That fall, he started taking classes at Bay.
“The affordability and the proximity to home were my two biggest drivers,” he said.
Matt said he had a “great experience” at Bay.
“I started off with a focus on teaching, and after my first semester, I changed my declared major to pharmacy,” he said.
His decision to switch majors at this point was based on his skillset.
“I’ve always been strong in science and math – specifically chemistry – and that’s a huge driver on the pharmacy curriculum, so I felt like that would be a good fit,” he said.
Switching his major set Matt’s progress back slightly. Still, he was able to transfer to Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan after the end of the winter 2004 semester.
“I was able to catch back up and get off to graduate school after that third year at Bay,” Matt said.
However, Matt did not get a degree from Bay – until recently, that is.
“I didn’t know that I had enough credits to technically graduate from Bay until last year,” he said.
In 2020, the college reached out to Matt and informed him he had enough credits to receive an associate of science degree. He was officially awarded this degree that year.
According to Matt, his experiences at Bay prepared him well for graduate school. While many of his classmates at Ferris had gone to more expensive schools, he felt he had learned just as much at Bay while saving a considerable amount of money.
“My education was right in line with theirs,” he said.
He said this was due in large part to the teachers at Bay.
“I had great teachers – they were very knowledgeable, and very easy to get extra help with if I had questions,” Matt said.
Matt studied at Ferris between the fall 2004 and winter 2008 semesters. In 2008, he successfully graduated from the school with a Pharm.D.
While taking classes at Ferris, Matt was able to gain experience in the working world at OSF St. Francis.
“I interned at OSF … and then I had a job waiting for me upon graduation,” he said.
Matt is still working at OSF St. Francis today.
“My role is to evaluate medicine orders from providers for safety and appropriateness for the patients that are within the walls of the hospital. We manage the oncology clinic, (and) we service the emergency department, outpatient infusion center, and the inpatients within the hospital,” he said.
Though it has been decades since he last attended classes at Bay, Matt said he has continued to recommend the school to high school students asking him for advice on their college plans.
“I encourage anyone to start at Bay, unless there’s a reason (that) they need to go off to a bigger school right away,” he said.