November 11, 2017

Allison Kubasiak poses for a photo.After graduating high school, Allison Kubasiak wasn’t sure what career she wanted to pursue, so she joined the Navy because it would allow her to pick any career path when she got out.

That path led her to the University of Detroit Mercy, where she is currently studying Nursing.

“A big part of why I joined the Navy was that I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to study in college,” Kubasiak said. “I realized the biggest thing I like to do is to help people. I really like to be there for people when they are in need. I have a knack for knowing just what people need. If it’s just a hand squeeze or a funny joke, I just have that natural ability. I think it will serve me well to be a nurse.”

Kubasiak graduated from high school in Ohio and lived in California during her time in the Navy, but landed at Detroit Mercy in part because her aunt, Barbara Ciotta, is a clinical instructor at the McAuley School of Nursing.

“My aunt is very close with all the faculty so she knew the quality of my education was going to be great. That was a big factor for me,” Kubasiak said. “She works with the people and works with the nurses who teach us, not just at the school, she’s worked with them in the hospitals. She knows them as people and really, really likes them, so that made me feel comfortable. I know exactly what I’m getting from her, and she trusts them.”

As Kubasiak was transitioning out of the Navy, she also learned to do her homework on schools before enrolling. She did some research on Detroit Mercy and was pleased with what she found out.

“I learned about classifications of how universities are rated by the VA and Detroit Mercy’s scores were super high,” Kubasiak said. “Detroit Mercy provides a lot more services than other universities do. So that was a big factor for me, too, because I knew I was going to be able to get support.”

Change of plans

Kubasiak went into the Navy unsure of what to expect, but ready to conquer whatever was thrown at her. She knew because of her size the Navy would push her to her limits, but she was determined to make it work.

“I needed to do it for me,” Kubasiak said. “I beat the odds because I was so small and so young, but I handled it better than people who were five or six years older than me. I just don’t have a problem with people getting in my face and yelling at me. But for some people, that was extremely hard for them.”

Kubasiak was originally training to be a linguist, but learned things can change quickly in the military.

“I did the whole school, all the training for to be a linguist and then two days after I graduated they changed me over,” Kubasiak said. “I’m not sure how it was determined, there were no factors that we could identify. Me and 10 other people were shipped off to logistician school. That was like a two-month school as opposed to the year-and-a-half school for language. From there, I spent the rest of my time on an air base in California. I ordered parts for air planes and worked with mechanics. It was kind of like the Amazon for the Navy.”

It wasn’t her original plan, but Kubasiak found out sometimes life’s curveballs can lead you down a new path. While stationed in California, Kubasiak decided to go shopping for a guitar and met her husband, David Kellogg.

“I play classical instruments but I didn’t want to bring any of them with me to California,” Kubasiak said. “I decided I was going to pick up guitar, so I went to a music store, and I met him there. I ended up buying two guitars and bunch of extra stuff I probably didn’t need just to see him. We got married a year and a day after the day I bought my first guitar.”

Kubasiak’s time in the Navy certainly had its ups and downs. Her time as a logistician taught her valuable leadership skills, but she also developed claustrophobia from an incident during a drill.

“I got dogged out of a door during a drill,” Kubasiak said. “They didn’t make sure the last man was through so they dogged it down so I couldn’t get through. I was in the small space, locked in, waiting for someone to hear my tiny fists pounding on the door. It took them like 15 minutes. They found me, but I was like, ‘How could you forget me?’ It was just a drill, it’s not like the ship was on fire or anything. I just didn’t appreciate being locked out of the door.”

Despite some of the rough times in the Navy, Kubasiak still feels it helped prepare her for college and life after the military.

“It was good for me, helped me become professional and communicate with people effectively,” Kubasiak said. “I developed leadership skills. It just gave me a skill set I otherwise wouldn’t have. Even if I would have chosen nursing out of high school, I feel like it wouldn’t have been the same.”

Helping others

Allison Kubasiak (center) poses with her co-workers from the Writing Center.Kubasiak is in her sophomore year at Detroit Mercy and is already leaving her mark, especially as an employee at The Writing Center.

“I really enjoy The Writing Center; it’s my favorite place on the whole campus,” Kubasiak said. “I’m a writing consultant. We don’t revise, we help the student understand why something should be the way it is. So, yes we’re improving your paper in that moment, but we’re also giving the students skills that they can take with them so they don’t make that same common mistake. We’re improving their paper, but we’re also improving their future writing.”

Kubasiak’s passion to help people at The Writing Center has impressed Writing Center Coordinator Cindy Spires, who called her hard working and a great employee.

“She has a very supportive personality — always seeking to assist students in a way that makes sure they understand what they’re doing or what they need to do,” Spires said. “She takes a lot of initiative and has even helped me design two new workshops for The Writing Center on time management topics — something she is very good at and something she can pass on to students beyond just what she does to help them with their writing. She’s a really well-rounded individual, and luckily she’s willing to share her talents with us.”

Kubasiak’s willingness to help others and her military background bring a unique perspective to The Writing Center, which Spires thinks benefits the students who come in for help.

“She consistently delivers the best service possible to each student she sees — not only with writing assistance, but in any other way they seek help from her — part of that is her organic personality, and part of that is due to her experiences in a team environment via the Navy,” Spires said.

“Allison, like other veterans here at Detroit Mercy, has a unique opportunity to blend her acquired skills in the Navy with her academic pursuits — by virtue of the discipline and commitment she has shown to her country, she is also able to share her work ethic and an important perspective with her peers. Veterans here at Detroit Mercy range in ages, and Allison is young enough to still relate to the incoming freshmen while being able to offer peer-advice and mentorship that comes from a place of integrity, wisdom and practice. She is an asset to Detroit Mercy and specifically The Writing Center."

— By Dave Pemberton. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.