Pipp rides Bay College start to DDA event coordinator

AMBER PIPP, EVENT coordinator with the Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

The Daily News has a monthly series on successful professionals in the area regarding their job, education and why they chose to live in Dickinson County. The professionals selected have some form of educational background with Bay College.

IRON MOUNTAIN — Amber Pipp’s educational journey started at Bay College.

As a child, Pipp frequently traveled with her family for her father’s job, moving around nearly every year. However, since her extended family lived in Dickinson County, Pipp was able to permanently move back to the area, graduating from Kingsford High School in 2005.

After graduation, she spent a year at Bay College, before transferring onto Northern Michigan University, where she finished her bachelor’s degree in health and fitness management.

“I wish I would have stayed at Bay for one more year, because it would have been much more fiscally responsible,” Pipp now says. “The first year I spent at Bay, I was able to do debt-free because of lower tuition rates and the discount I received being a Dickinson County resident.”

When Pipp’s mother needed to relocate to the Green Bay area for work, Pipp made her transfer to NMU sooner than she was hoping.

“The smaller class sizes at Bay College provided me with a more one-on-one learning atmosphere with my instructors. The quality of education I received was absolutely outstanding and laid a solid foundation that really helped me be a successful student at Northern.”

Bay provided a stepping stone, Pipp said, that made for a much smoother transition to NMU.

After graduating from NMU, Pipp spent several years working in the Marquette area with hopes of one day returning to Dickinson County.

When her husband was able to get a job with the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center, her dream of returning to Dickinson County became a reality.

“I always knew that Dickinson County was where I wanted to raise a family of my own — the tight-knit community and close proximity of my extended family was something that was really important to me.”

After working in the area for a number of years, Pipp late last year took on the role of event coordinator with the Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority.

“My position is all about health and wellness and improving the downtown district. I love being involved with the community and helping to make this area an even better place to live, work, learn and raise a family,” Pipp said.

Her advice to local students is to consider a community college for the first two years.

“Not only for the financial aspect,” Pipp sid, “but also to really prepare you for life at a bigger university. I do not think we always know exactly what we want to do coming out of high school, and that is fine. If you can get your feet wet in some general college classes, something might really spark an interest and put you on a faster track to finding your dream career.

“Some people may think a degree is a commitment in one field, but I think having a degree makes you a well-rounded person and can open more doors of opportunity. Going to school allows you to be so much more marketable when you enter the workforce.”

In addition, Pipp encouraged college students to try to build work experience while pursuing their degree.

“Take advantage of the flexible schedules and online courses offered here at Bay. I was able to work part time and attend college. Having the experience already on my resume made finding a job that much easier once I finished earning my degree.”

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