Growing up at West Shore; Dr. Tanis honored by college

May 2, 2014
Dr. Charles Dillon, president of WSCC presents Dr. Tanis with the alumni achievement award.

Dr. Charles Dillon, president of WSCC presents Dr. Tanis with the alumni achievement award.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

SCOTTVILLE — Dr. Sara (Sutton) Tanis was awarded the West Shore Community College Alumni Achievement Award Friday evening during the 44th commencement ceremony.

Tanis received her Doctor of Philosophy in forestry in 2013 from Michigan State University. But, her roots run deep at West Shore. She is a 1990 graduate of Mason County Eastern High School and earned an Associate of Science degree from WSCC in 1992. Her father, Dr. Dale Sutton, was a professor at West Shore from 1971 to 1994.

“I grew up on this campus,” Tanis said. She said she was born the year after her father took the job at West Shore. “My sister and I learned to swim in the pool here.” Tanis even did some of her doctoral research on WSCC’s campus.

Tanis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Western Michigan University in 1996. It would then be several years before she returned to college to earn her Master in Science degree in horticulture from Michigan State in 2008.

She told the West Shore graduates that she didn’t believe she is anyone special for receiving a doctoral degree, but rather someone who just discovered who she was. She said they should discover themselves as well.

Tanis is currently employed in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University where she has also held graduate and laboratory assistant positions.

“I grew up wanting to save the world and now I do it everyday, and I get paid for it,” she said.

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