Tag Archives: University of Michigan

Allison Arnold: Graduating from childhood with high honors



Ernest Hemingway said, “Courage is grace under pressure.” If anyone exemplifies these words, it’s Allison Arnold.

To say Allison has achieved a lot in her 18 years on this planet is an understatement. The soon-to-be graduate of Grand Rapids Public School‘s City High School has done more before her first day on a college campus than many do in their lifetime…and she’s just getting started. She is an accomplished scholar, writer, intern extraordinaire, and activist who I am confident will spend her lifetime being a change-maker.

Born and raised in in Grand Rapids, Allison attended Huntington Woods Elementary through second grade and then St. Andrew’s Catholic School from third through eighth grade. Her writing career began with stories she wrote in Kindergarten. Her second grade teacher, Mrs. Bush, praised her for something she had written, and she was so proud that she hung it up in the house. But her “big break” came in the 8th grade when she won an essay contest sponsored by Sharpe Buick. By then, she had become more confident in her writing and developed a great passion for the written word.



When it came to choosing a high school, Allison was looking for a challenging curriculum and the opportunity to broaden her horizons. According to her mom, Chris, “We (Allison’s parents) decided that City High would be a good school for Allison, based on the academics, diversity of the student body, and rigorous curriculum. We wanted her to be in an environment that reflects the broad diversity of our community and world. It was very brave of Allison, being a ninth grader going into City. Many of the kids had established friendships so the social aspect was challenging, but has made her a stronger person in the long run.”

In ninth grade, Allison joined the Environmental Club, which helped her develop a passion for causes such as recycling and sustainability. In her junior year of high school, she won an honorable mention award for her essay for the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. This led to an internship at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC), where she combines her desire to help the earth with her love of journalism to publish the WMEAC blog posts.

She is also an up-and-coming leader, having been chosen for some incredible opportunities including the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC), an annual event that brings together high school student leaders from throughout the country as National Youth Correspondents. In her sophomore year, she began helping out at the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center at Grand Rapids Community College, where her mother serves as Director, and because of her work Mayor George Heartwell recognized her as one of his Champions for Diversity.

As part of the Michigan Women’s Foundation’s (MWF) Young Women for Change, Allison is learning to lead as a philanthropist. Young Women for Change is a group of high school girls who receive and evaluate grant proposals, determining which proposals fit their priorities; and fundraise so they can grant more requests for funds each year. Community activism and volunteerism are also a large part of their mission.

This past year in preparation for graduation, Allison has continued to expand her horizons by interning at WGVU. During her internship with The WGVU Morning Show, she greeted guests, assisted with show preparation, and learned the industry. Her mentor at WGVU, Shelley Irwin said, “It was my initial fortune to experience Allie in what she does best…following her passion of journalism! I have also witnessed Allie in front of several large audiences, sharing personal words of inspiration, moving the audience to tears. Allie is destined to follow her calling of motivating others to do their best.”

But all of these experiences, all of the amazing opportunities…it doesn’t mean that life has always been easy for Allison. She has had (more than) her fair share of frustrations and struggles as a young woman. In 2011, Allison was hospitalized for anorexia and depression. Striving for perfection, trying to solve all of the problems of the world, and attempting to be involved in every extracurricular activity available had taken her to a very dark place. Two years later, she is doing much better. That’s not to say she never has tough days, but Allison does not let it slow her down. In fact, she takes the time to talk to others about it because she wants to use her story to inspire others.

In 2012, Allison spoke at the MWF’s 25th Anniversary Luncheon, telling her story of a struggle with anxiety and an eating disorder. She gave a beautiful testimony, speaking with amazing grace and poise, and received a standing ovation from a room full of community leaders. Stacie Behler, Vice President of Public Affairs at Meijer, Inc., got to know Allison through the MWF, where Behler is a Board Member. “Allison was a wonderful ambassador and spokeswoman for the Michigan Women’s Foundation and its Young Women for Change programs. She spoke from the heart and shared her story with and inspired me and so many others to be mindful of the struggle young women may face with depression and anorexia. She is a strong, stellar role model that I am so proud of,” said Behler.

All of these experiences have helped prepare Allison for the next phase of her life—college. Starting this fall, she will move to Ann Arbor and become a University of Michigan Wolverine. She has been awarded the Grand Rapids Chapter of the University of Michigan Alumni Association’s scholarship; Latino Youth Scholarship; and the very prestigious Jean Fairfax Scholarship from the University of Michigan. The Fairfax Scholarship recognizes students with strong academic performance and a solid record of leadership, and will provide $40,000 towards her college education. She plans to study International Relations and Social Justice and Environmental Issues with a career in journalism and photography. She hopes to have a career at National Geographic one day.


Before she heads off to Ann Arbor, she will certainly be spending time at her favorite places in Grand Rapids – working out at The Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse and the YMCA; eating at her favorite restaurants like Marie Catrib’sGroveBistro Bella VitaAmore Trattoria ItalianaMaggie’s Kitchen, and Speak EZ (she loves farm-to-table food and restaurants with a nostalgic atmosphere; and enjoying a good book in various coffee shops around town. You will also be seeing her all over West Michigan this summer as the newest member of the Stellafly team, as she will be interning as a writer. We’re beyond thrilled to have her join us and anticipate incredible things from this up and coming talent.

When I asked her what else she hopes to do in life, travel is definitely on the list. Her favorite city is New York, and she hopes to visit Seattle, Los Angeles, and take a backpacking trip through Europe—she’d like to become fluent in Spanish and visit Spain. No matter where Allison ends up, her heart will belong to Grand Rapids. She loves how “everyone is connected,” and she is thankful for all the people here who have cared for and supported her.

Most of all, Allison will do the things that make her happy, because in her words, “If you can’t do something that makes you happy, don’t do it.”





Dr. Carolyn King is Seeking Peace



As a woman who is always seeking peace, Dr. Carolyn King has fun with her name. She once had a former business called C. King Peace Psychiatry.

(Get it? If not, say it aloud.)

This independent and spirited woman also likes being called Dr. King as it reminds her of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. –– a man she truly admires. When she got married, King didn’t take her husband’s last name because, as she says, “Dr. King sounded too good.”

Dr. Carolyn King

Along with the playful monikers, King currently has two job titles. The first is Child and Adult Psychiatrist –– a title she says comes from her education –– and the second is Behavioral Health Ambassador.

“I had to lobby for this title,” she says.

King believes a lot still needs to be done in terms of education to remove the stigma associated with mental health issues. She hopes we will one day discuss mental health similar to how we now speak about breast and prostate cancers. It used to be that people rarely talked about these “taboo” cancers, but today it’s commonplace.

With that goal in mind, King tirelessly advocates in her role as Behavioral Health Ambassador to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. In addition to treating patients at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, she appears at events and on local TV and radio stations talking about topics such as stress, holiday blues, self-esteem, postpartum depression, and more. King regularly shares her knowledge about anything having to do with the brain, especially on how to “love the brain.”

Originally from the east side of the state, King moved to Grand Rapids six years ago and began working for Pine Rest shortly afterward. She relocated because she found the perfect home. After five years of looking, King decided the house was worth it and moved her family across the state.

She soon discovered the culture in West Michigan is a bit different from where she grew up and it was an adjustment.

“I am a product of Detroit, and not a mild-mannered, soft-spoken product,” King says.

Now six years later, her life in Grand Rapids is busy with family, work, and exercising –– this former aerobics instructor loves Zumba and yoga.

Inquiring about her family, King laughs and quickly replies, “I have two sons, two dogs, two former husbands, one mother, and one fish.”

She divorced from her second husband in May, but she doesn’t want condolences. She prefers “congratulations” instead, as she considers both of her marriages to be learning experiences.

“I did two 10-year journeys into marriage and with each husband, I learned something different,” she says.

Dr. Carolyn King

King may be single again, but she is certainly not alone. Living with her now are her mother, her 10-year-old son Jelani, a niece, a medical student, dogs Pepperjack and Winn-Dixie, and a fish.

Her oldest son Gary is 19 and away at college. He’s studying theatre at Columbia College in Chicago and hopes to be an actor one day. Sharing his mother’s good looks and vibrant personality, he stands to succeed.

So, what’s it like to have Dr. King, the psychiatrist, as a mother?

“She is a really amazing woman who is smart and creative,” Gary says. “She knows how to make learning fun, but she lets you know if you mess up.” He adds that King could be a “monster” when he totally messed up, but says he went off to college so “it was effective.”

Younger brother Jelani shares Gary’s love and admiration for his mother.

“She is awesome,” he says. “She doesn’t make you do too little work and she doesn’t make you do too much.”

King’s dream home has five bedrooms and an abundance of space. There is plenty of colorful artwork throughout and a lot of Martin Luther King, Jr. memorabilia inherited from her father, who died when King was only 9. He was an ardent follower of the peace movement.

What’s most interesting about the house is that it has two kitchens and King doesn’t cook. While admitting this, she laughs and says, “Can I say that out loud? Really loud?”

King decided at age 12 that she wasn’t going to cook and, after all these years, she’s stayed true to that decision. When she was only 3, she also decided that she wanted to be a doctor and followed through on that choice as well.

Not all children are as decisive, nor do they all know what their career options are. That’s why King co-founded, along with Don J. Tynes, MD, an organization called Reach Out To Youth (ROTY) nearly 24 years ago. She was in medical school at the time and wondered what could be done for black history month.

King and Tynes decided to take a group of children through the college’s medical lab so they could gain an appreciation for the human body and consider medicine as a possible career.

The tour was a success and now ROTY hosts an annual event at the Wayne State University School of Medicine with help from the Black Medical Association. The program is open to children, ages 7-11, and parents who have an interest in medicine. The idea is to expose them to a profession they may not know much about.

More than 200 Detroit area students and 100 parents participate annually and the event happens on February 2 this year.

Dr. Carolyn King

To become a child and adult psychiatrist, King’s education took 18 years to complete. She first earned her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Psychology from Wayne State University in 1989 and then her medical degree (M.D.) from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1993. After that, she completed five years of an adult psychiatry residency followed by two years of a child psychiatry residency at the University of Michigan. She graduated in 2000.

As a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, she has served on their Consumers Issue Committee for almost 10 years. This national medical association acts as a resource for information and is often used by the media, the Mayo Clinic, and other organizations.

At Pine Rest, King works in both the inpatient and outpatient areas. She treats people who have attempted or are considering suicide and those with major depressive disorders such as Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder. Patients with ADHD/ADD, Autism, Asperger’s, Anxiety, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Postpartum Depression, and other mental health issues are seen by King as well.

King takes a holistic approach to treating patients. Physical problems such as thyroid issues or Anemia can affect one’s mental health so patients are usually given a physical as part of their treatment.

“It’s all one body and the brain is just another organ of the body,” says King. “Our brain is our behavior organ.”

Dr. Carolyn King

As a psychiatrist, she is able to prescribe medication to patients. King says it’s sometimes necessary to alter a person’s brain chemistry by lowering Dopamine, increasing Serotonin, or with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in order to treat them. She often finds that therapy is 70 percent effective and medication is 70 percent effective, but when the treatments are combined, they are 80 percent effective.

King thinks it’s “very empowering” to help patients see that they do have alternative ways to respond to situations and that they can control their behavior. The “ah-ha” moment they experience is rewarding for her to witness.

She treats around 8-10 patients a day, or around 700 patients a year on average.

Whenever she’s working, King serves as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry for the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and has medical students with her all of the time. They even go along when she’s on TV or radio shows to talk about mental health issues.

Like her patients, King’s own brain needs rest and relaxation in order to function well so she tries to get plenty of sleep and exercises regularly. And when she has time in the summer, she heads to Detroit to enjoy the 33’ Chris Craft she shares with her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sister, Pam. Travel is an activity she enjoys as well.

No matter what she has going on, Dr. Carolyn King will keep sharing her vast knowledge about mental health and she will continue seeking peace.