Transfer student Grace Fusani finds her happy place in Wayne State's urban setting

Grace Fusani
Grace Fusani in the rooftop garden of the Green Garage

Looking out at Detroit from the rooftop garden she manages at the Green Garage, a business incubator just off campus, undergrad Grace Fusani is in her element. She coordinates the operations of the rooftop and alley gardens, composting and recycling efforts, and the sale of herbs and edible flowers used on the menus of local restaurants.

It is here, in and around Wayne State's Midtown campus, she found the niche that had eluded her during her freshman year at Michigan State. She transferred as a sophomore and has been running at full throttle ever since, recently moving into an apartment in the city.

"The urban setting really is for me," says the Grosse Ile High School grad, while watering the garden. "I have found so many activities that fit my interests, and I feel cared about by faculty and staff."

She knows that when choosing a college, students don't always find their happy place but they stay anyway. Guidance from the Transfer Student Success Center as she transitioned from one university to another helped her realize pretty quickly that she had found a perfect fit at WSU.

On track to graduate in May 2019, double majoring with honors in linguistics and Italian, Fusani's goal is a career in linguistic anthropology, ideally studying the dialects of northern Italy, where she still has relatives. She's in Italy this month earning eight credits toward her degree through "Wayne in Abruzzo," sponsored by the Office of Study Abroad and Global Programs. The monthlong program immerses students in the culture and language of the country's picturesque central region while fulfilling a variety of language and/or culture credits.

Qualifying for stipends, scholarships and the university's spring/summer tuition discount made it all pretty affordable, she says.

It is just one of the ways she is experiencing all the university has to offer students. Seeking campus activities to enhance her education as soon as she enrolled, Fusani attended FestiFall, an annual showcase of the university's student organizations, campus departments and learning communities. She found out about all kinds of things, like study abroad and the marching band (she played for two years).

Always on the lookout for opportunities to make the most of her time here, she joined the Street Squad, a group of student ambassadors who represent the university at special events throughout metro Detroit.

"I heard about it and thought, 'I want to do that' so I can promote the university and student life," she says. "I'm having a great experience and want others to know they can too."

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