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June 13, 2018

Determined SVSU graduate clears hurdles, earns microbiologist position with Covenant HealthCare

A self-proclaimed family man with a baby on the way – and who worked his way through college – Sean Suitor is no stranger to hard work and responsibility.

Suitor completed his bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science at Saginaw Valley State University in May and began a new job with Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw as a microbiologist in June.

“I'm excited that I get to continue to be a part of the Covenant team after three years working there as a lab assistant,” Suitor said. “It's really just an exciting time in my life and I'm happy to be adding this career to my list of accomplishments.”

Getting there wasn't always an easy road. On top of his studies and family commitments, Suitor worked the night shift at Covenant, attending classes in the mornings and afternoons, often on little sleep.

“It was a lot to handle sometimes,” Suitor said. “I have ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder]. That was one of the biggest things I struggled with throughout both high school and college. It made focusing difficult, and some days, it was a real challenge.”

Suitor said that his experience with ADHD is best explained by using the visual of a train track.

“For someone without ADHD, their track – or their thought process – is usually pretty straight. There may be a few curves thrown in here or there but they usually get to the point in a timely manner. My train track encounters a few more intersections, some sharp turns, and a few kinks and I never really get that straight narrative that someone else might have. It's not that I never get to the point, it just takes me a little longer to get there sometimes.”

Suitor used his personal struggle to help those he meets on campus and in the community. While a student at SVSU, he served as the president of Ability First, a registered student organization geared towards helping students with disabilities become more acclimated to college life through campus engagement. The group aims to be a welcoming environment to all students, those with and without disabilities.

SVSU’s medical laboratory science program prepares students to work in a clinical laboratory setting. It has a 98 percent job placement rate; graduates of the program often find employment in clinical pathology laboratories in hospitals across the nation.

“It's a competitive process,” said Kay Castillo, SVSU associate professor of medical laboratory science. “Sean was just one of those students that stood out from the start because he knew what he wanted to do and he was determined to get there. That's just who Sean is.”

A Saginaw native, Suitor married his high school sweetheart, Robyn; both participated in Commencement exercises in May. Robyn is finishing her coursework this summer to complete a degree in exercise science.

“It really means a lot to me that she and I have been able to do all this together,” Sean Suitor said.

The couple coaches cross country at Swan Valley Middle School in their spare time.

Sean was an orientation leader at SVSU for three years. He credits that experience for helping him to break out of his shell and become more confident in his own abilities as a student leader.

“I don't think there will ever be a way for me to fully express how grateful I am for the opportunities SVSU has given me,” Suitor said. “I'm so thankful for this school, the professors who helped guide me along the way, and for Covenant for making me a part of their team. I couldn't be happier with where I am right now and I'm excited to see where this journey will take me.”