Angela (Massingill) Beck went through high school with her dad, Dennis Massingill, as the principal. That’s not easy, but this year’s Outstanding Alumnus recipient says that experience equated to a total immersion into OHS activities – sports, honor society, student council, “I was encouraged by my parents to get involved in as many activities as I could to experience different things.” She even worked at the school in the summers and got engaged in the old OHS gym, “I guess my husband knew that this will always be a special place to me.” She says OHS was a second home.
She returned to OHS this week as the keynote speaker for the Otsego High School Honors Night where she received the 2017 Otsego Outstanding Alumnus Award. “It’s really an honor to get this award, very unexpected and very appreciated.”
In her address to the 295 students receiving academic honors, she shared a little bit of her experience as a Bulldog, but also encouraged them to be open to taking chances outside of their comfort zone, even if that means risk of failure, “Those are the experiences that ultimately lead to success,” she says.
Beck has spent her career working in public health. She graduated from Otsego in 1995 and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University in Physiology in 1999. She went on to attend the University of Michigan and received her Master’s in Public Health, Health Behavior and Health Education in 2003 and her PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education in 2012. She worked at a federal health center in Washington D.C. from 2003-2005 and went to work at U of M after that in various roles. She currently holds both an academic faculty role and an administrative role at U of M’s School of Public Health. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education and directs the Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center, which is a federal-funded center focused on assessing supply, demand and capacity of the workforce responsible for prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. She also teaches public health courses for graduate and medical students.
In her administrative role, she is Managing Director of the Office for Student Engagement and Practice, which is the school’s academic affairs unit. They handle a variety of activities from student recruitment and admissions to career development workshops.
In her career, she talks with a lot of students from all over and with all different backgrounds, “You are fortunate to be in this school district,” she told the students, “You have opportunity and access to things that some other students don’t. You have teachers, administrators and coaches who make sure you have a foundation of success.”
Beck says her success traces back to Otsego, “The teachers, administrators and coaches who guided me during my high school years played a huge role in preparing me for college and ultimately for my career,” she says. “I was one of those kids who really loved school and learning new things. The teachers I had are no longer at OHS, but I thank them for providing me a solid foundation to help me succeed in academics and also for continuing to foster that love of school. It was impactful enough to help shape my career path.”
She said she graduated high school not knowing exactly what she wanted to do but knew she loved science and research. She came from a long line of teachers in her family and never pictured herself in that role. Yet, that is part of her job now; it was one of those opportunities that she knew she needed to take. Taking students through her journey, she left them with a few words of wisdom she’s learned along the way, “Have some goals in mind; celebrate successes; take risks and enjoy the journey along the way.” Beck and her husband live in Ann Arbor.
Of the 295 students honored tonight, there were 61 freshmen, 73 sophomores, 54 juniors and 107 seniors.