by Carlie Zervan - February 21, 2013
Ferris State University has given Amber Balmer more than the tools for a great education; it has given her a second home.
“When I was growing up, there wasn’t a lot of talk about college,” said Balmer, a 2010 graduate who now serves as the university’s coordinator of Student Activities. “Coming to Ferris was a completely new experience for me. I learned a lot about myself; it made me the person that I am today.”
Balmer’s journey to Big Rapids began after her 2004 graduation from David Hickman High School in Columbia, Mo. She decided to pursue a degree in Public Relations and to get heavily involved in campus life.
So not only did Balmer join multiple organizations, she led them.
She joined Alpha Sigma Tau, a social sorority on campus. During her membership, she held a fundraising position, was the sorority’s representative for Student Government and served as vice president.
Balmer also joined Ferris’ chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, became vice president and helped found a student-run client relations firm. She was public relations director for Student Government and also served as its vice president and later was elected president. She also was crowned Ferris’ homecoming queen.
Balmer completed an internship with Levine Communications in Los Angeles, one of the country’s premier public relations firms, and in May 2010, she graduated from Ferris with a Bachelor of Science in Business. Ferris is the only public relations program in the U.S. that awards graduates a business degree.
After achieving ample success as a student, Balmer continued to shine professionally after being hired as an admissions recruiter for Ferris. She held the position for about seven months before being promoted to coordinator of communications for Enrollment Services. A year later, she was offered the position of coordinator of Student Activities.
“My current position is a lot of evenings,” Balmer said. “I oversee student events, help Entertainment Unlimited – the campus programming board -- contact talent, review contracts and develop day-to-day Greek events in the Student Leadership and Activities office.”
Balmer is heavily involved in Greek Week activities, is a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee and is an advisor for EU. Her office recently combined with Career Services, adding more to her plate.
Though her job can be stressful, Balmer enjoys it.
“I love seeing what students can accomplish,” Balmer said. “Working with students and seeing them get so excited for an event makes me excited to be a part of that.”
As for her future plans, Balmer wants to get her master’s degree and start working for herself.
“The biggest thing right now is getting experience here,” Balmer said. “Eventually I want to do my own events and consulting, but that is far in the future.”
That goal includes working with her sister, Danielle, a 2012 Ferris graduate.
Balmer also is active in her community and helps organize the Naked Foot 5K, a road race in Grand Rapids. Last year, Naked Foot 5K partnered with the national charity Soles4Souls and encouraged participants to run barefoot and donate a pair of shoes for disaster relief victims and impoverished communities worldwide. More than 100 runners participated and organizers collected almost 200 pairs of shoes.
“My goal for this year is to partner with more local organizations,” Balmer said.
Balmer also is planning a wedding. She became engaged last summer to Ferris marketing grad Brian Kneible. Kneible works for Intertek, a London-based consulting company, in Grand Rapids.
In her spare time, Balmer enjoys cooking, hosting gatherings, hanging out with friends and trying new things. She also enjoys spending time with her dog, Bailey.
“I never imagined working in a higher-education position,” Balmer said. “I am happy to be able to give back to the school that has given me so much.”
It’s safe to say that when Balmer does decide her time at Ferris will come to an end that the university will have a hard time letting her go.
Carlie Zervan is a News Services student writer in University Advancement and Marketing.
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